Millions of babies in the U.S. rely on formula, which is the only source of nutrition recommended for infants who aren't exclusively breastfed, and ongoing supply disruptions have combined with a recent safety recall to squeeze supplies.
The problems began last year as the COVID-19 pandemic led to disruptions in labor, transportation and raw materials — economy-wide issues that didn't spare the formula industry. Inventory was further squeezed by parents stockpiling.
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Then in February, Abbott Nutrition recalled several major brands of powdered formula and shut down its Michigan factory when federal officials began investigating babies who suffered bacterial infections after consuming formula from the facility. Abbott Nutrition said this week that it will be at least two months before baby formula from its shuttered plant hits shelves.
Mom’s Place Lactation Support Center operates as a clinic and training center where mothers can receive breastfeeding assistance from registered nurses and lactation consultants. Appointments can be made by calling 512-972-6700, and a toll-free breastfeeding hotline can be reached by calling 1-800-514-6667.
Family Connects works to support families after the birth of a newborn. Nurses are available for home visits to measure newborn and maternal health and assess strengths and needs to link the family to community resources. More information is available by calling 512-225-0363 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Texas WIC is offering formula options to help families in need. Please note that these options are only available for WIC clients. You can register online to become a client.
WIC clients can go online to find the list of alternative brands that are available to them if they cannot find their brand at the grocery store. This list is updated daily. They can also contact their local WIC office for assistance.
United Way’s 2-1-1 : dial 2–1-1 to be connected to a community resource specialist affiliated with United Way who may be able to help you identify food pantries and other charitable sources of local infant formula and baby food.
Feeding America : call your local food bank to ask whether they have infant formula and other supplies in stock.
Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA): certain HMBANA-accredited milk banks are distributing donated breast milk to mothers in need; parents should note that some may require a prescription from a medical professional.
The current stock of Similac products on the shelf are safe, as these were all manufactured after the recall at a different manufacturing plant not affected by the recall, says APH.
If someone has purchased powdered baby or toddler formula with the brand names Similac, Alimentum or EleCare, the first thing they should do is check online to see if their formula was affected. Look at the bottom of the can or container and find the lot number and enter it into the website. If recalled, do not use it, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to get a replacement. Abbott can be contacted at 1-800-986-8540. If a formula was not included in the recall, families can still use it.
Parents can contact their baby’s health care provider if their baby recently drank one of the recalled products and are experiencing fever, not eating well, excessive crying, low energy, or other symptoms.
Because babies need a specific balance of nutrients, WIC and the American Academy of Pediatrics do not recommend making baby formula at home, and it is not safe to use cows’ milk or overly dilute formula.