Due to the pandemic, recalls, and the shutdown of a huge production plant in February, more than 40 percent of the top-selling baby formulas are out of stock across America. Understandably, this has spurred a lot of anxiety for the parents, but if you’re in this situation, these expert tips will hopefully offer some help and peace of mind.
Speak to your pediatrician
Any questions or concerns you may have, please call your pediatrician. Their expertise will help you navigate through this stressful time and settle your worries that you are doing the best thing for your baby.
Use generic formula brands
Yale Medicine pediatrician Leslie Sude explained that branded formula does not necessarily equal the best. Brands from Target, Walmart, or any other reputable retailer are often just as good as big-name brands.
“Store-brand formulas are high-quality, made in the US, regulated by the FDA, and more affordable,” Sude explains. “They are equivalent to many of the name brands. The major difference is that store brands don’t market as aggressively as the commercial brands do, and they don’t make the specialty formulas needed for certain infants’ medical conditions.”
Switch it up
To give you more options to choose from, consider the numerous types of formulas that are available: milk-based, soy-based, and “sensitive” varieties. In the large majority of cases, it is safe for babies to switch between any of these varieties, however, if your baby has allergies or prolonged difficulties digesting a certain type of formula, you should contact their pediatrician to discuss it.
Breast milk is also an alternative milk option, either from donor breast milk or from the baby’s mother. Impressively, mothers can reactivate milk production even after they have already stopped breastfeeding, here is the AAP’s advice on how to do this.
Diluting your baby’s formula to make it last longer is not recommended. Babies’ organs are still developing at this stage, and they are particularly sensitive to imbalances of fluids and nutrients, especially in the kidneys.
For this same reason, experts urge you not to make your own. “It is simply not safe to make your version because babies require a very special type of nutrition in that first year of life. Their organs are still developing, and they can’t process electrolytes, such as sodium or potassium, like a more mature body can,” Sude says. “You can cause some dangerous electrolyte imbalances if you try to make your formula.”
Be careful when ordering formula online
Ordering formula online is risky, as the product may be counterfeit or made outside of the US so is not FDA regulated. Stick to the stores to be safe.
Don’t hoard baby formula
Experts suggest a 10-to 14-day supply of formula is more than enough to stay prepared for your baby, plus, avoid lack of supplies on the shelves. Sude puts it perfectly: “All babies are important and need to eat.” So, think before you stockpile.