Since the outbreak of
COVID-19, significant shortages of
infant formulas have occurred in some stores. However, these are mostly due to people over buying or stockpiling formula and not because of a national shortage. Check with your local stores or on-line retailers about availability.
The AAP recommends that during the COVID-19 pandemic, people should buy no more than 10 days to 2 weeks supply of formula.
Here are some tips to help families struggling to find infant formula during the COVID-19 outbreak. Keep in mind, this advice is strictly for URGENT situations only during the current COVID-19 outbreak. If you have any concerns about your baby's nutrition, please talk with your pediatrician.
If your child is younger than 6 months of age, talk to your pediatrician and ask if they can urgently get you a can from the local formula representatives or one of the charities that has some. Your local WIC office may also be able to help.
If your child is
older than 6 months of age, you can give a couple of days of whole cow's milk until the shortage is better. This is not ideal and should not be routine practice, but is better than diluting formula or making homemade formula (see warnings below).
Check smaller stores and drug stores, which may not be out of supply when the bigger stores are.
If you can afford it, buy formula online until store shortages ease. Purchase from well-recognized distributors and pharmacies rather than individually sold or auction sites.
For most babies, it is OK to switch to any available formula, including store brands, unless your baby is on a specific extensively hydrolyzed one such as Alimentum or Nutramigen. If you are unsure, talk with your pediatrician.
If absolutely no formula can be found, consider borrowing a can from a friend.
Never water down formula! Always follow label instructions or those given to you by your pediatrician. Watering down formula is dangerous and can cause nutritional imbalances in your baby and lead to serious health problems.
Can I give my baby alternative milk products if I can't find formula?
Milk alternatives are not recommended for infants under 6 months of age at any time. Soy milk can be given to babies over 6 months of age for a few days, but always buy the kind that is fortified with protein and calcium. Make sure families change back to formula as soon as some is available. Avoid almond or other plant milks as these are often low in protein and minerals
Toddler formulas are not recommended for infants under 6 months of age. However, if you absolutely have no other choice, toddler formula is safe for a few days. For babies older than 6 months, it is ok to use toddler formula for a week or two.
Always talk with your pediatrician about any concerns you have about feeding your baby.