Formula shortage: keeping tummies full while shelves are empty

May 19, 2022


Making sure your child is fed, happy and safe is top priority for parents and caregivers. That’s why the current formula shortage is causing so much concern for families.

“We tell parents that fed is best, and for some families and children, formula is the best option,” says Jeni Guth, FNP, a pediatric provider at Adventist Health Ukiah Valley. “It’s important to us to support them until the shortage ends.” Jeni offers the following advice to families.

Don’t make your own formula

A child’s nutritional needs are very specific, and formula is made with the right ingredients in the appropriate amounts to meet their needs. That’s why homemade formula is not recommended. “We don’t want a parent to unintentionally harm their child by using unsafe ingredients or not having the right nutrient concentration,” Jeni explains.

Don’t water down formula

“This should never be done,” says Jeni. “Always follow the instructions on the label.” Watering down formula can lead to nutritional deficiencies that could develop into serious health problems.

Do follow your pediatrician’s guidance on transitioning off formula to regular milk

“Speak to your clinician about when your child is ready to transition off specialty formulas or formula altogether,” Jeni advises. “They’ll be able to advise you if your child is old enough and developmentally ready to stop.”

Do know your resources for learning more and finding formula

Jeni knows the parents she is working with are stressed during this time. “It’s easy to feel alone or like it is you against the world in these situations. But remember that your child’s provider and other resources are here to help,” she says.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has helpful FAQs with medically-reviewed answers to many questions about the shortage and what to do if you can’t find any formula.

Tags: Maternity