Baby formula has been disappearing from store shelves since February, when a recall from Abbott laboratories not only pulled supplies from shelves but also temporarily stopped production. Combined with ongoing supply-chain issues affecting many products, the situation has parents and caregivers worried.
Detailed information about the recall and supply of baby formulas can be found on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) website.
The USDA has three main cautions for parents and caregivers during the current shortage:
- Don't use cows' milk or non-dairy milk products until your baby is at least a year old
- Don't dilute the formula you have with water
- Don't make your own formula
Christopher Pierce, M.D., section chief of General Pediatrics at Carilion Clinic, and Carilion Children's pediatrician Ryan Fulton, D.O., shared more information for families in conversations with WSLS.
Dr. Pierce added a note about diluting formula: “This is not just a lack of weight gain but just electrolyte imbalances,” he said. “The classic story is overfeeding water to infants can even drive them into seizures.”
Dr. Fulton elaborated on the USDA guidance:
- Use cows' milk only as a last resort and limit it to 24 ounces a day
- Use whole milk because the fat content is most closely aligned with a baby's nutritional needs
- Avoid plant-based milks and other types of milks
Watch the videos for more information from our experts, and reach out to your child's pediatrician if you have questions or need additional support.