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If you’re having a hard time finding baby formula right now, here are some tips that may help.

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The national baby formula shortage has many parents and caregivers around the country scrambling to find ways to feed their babies. Supply chain issues during the pandemic and a recent recall of several baby formula products over concerns of contamination have led to bare shelves and purchase limits when you can find formula in stock.

The situation will hopefully begin improving in the coming weeks. Until it does, here are some tips to help feed your baby.

Where to Find Baby Formula

If the stores you typically buy from are out of your baby’s formula, here are some other places to look:

      • Brick and mortar stores: Check drugstores, convenience stores and smaller local stores.
      • Online: Search well-known retailers that carry familiar brands. Avoid auction sites.
      • Local organizations: Some non-profits and local food banks are offering supplies of baby formula. You can also contact organizations like WIC and Human Milk Banking Association of North America.
      • Social media: Local community and parent groups may post suggestions about where to find formula in your area (but be wary of other advice they may post).
      • Your pediatrician: Your doctor’s office may have samples or be able to provide you with ideas for places to check.

What to Do If You Can’t Find Formula

If you can’t find the brand of formula you use, you may consider switching to another brand. Most babies can tolerate the switch as long as it’s the same type of formula. Gradually introducing a new formula may make it easier for your baby to tolerate it and adjust to a different taste. If your baby is on a specific formula diet or you’re unsure if a brand switch is okay for your baby, speak to your pediatrician before considering alternatives.

If you absolutely cannot find your baby’s formula or an acceptable substitute, then reach out to your child’s pediatrician for further guidance.

Don’t Do This If You Run Out of Formula

While the following options may seem like good solutions during an emergency, they may be unsafe for your baby and should not be used. Babies need a specific balance of nutrients that are FDA approved for infant consumption. Using the alternatives listed below may lead to nutritional deficiencies and health issues. In some cases, they may even become life-threatening.

Don’t give this to your baby:

      • Watered down formula (to make it last longer)
      • Homemade formula
      • Formula past the expiration date
      • Formula purchased from auction sites or unknown sellers
      • Imported formula that’s not approved by the FDA
      • Raw, unpasteurized milk
      • Plant-based milk, such as soy, oat, coconut or almond

If you have any questions or concerns about what is safe to feed your baby during the formula shortage, call your pediatrician.

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Date Last Reviewed: May 25, 2022

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Dietary Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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