Bay Area health officials share tips for dealing with U.S. infant formula shortage

There continues to be a national infant formula shortage due to supply chain issues and an infant formula recall due to bacterial contamination at the manufacturing plant. Abbott in Michigan. The federal government is currently working on strategies to increase formula production and help families access existing stock.

Compared to other states, California is doing better, but shortages are still a concern.

Babies need the right balance of nutrients – not too much or too little – to grow and be healthy. It’s important for your baby’s health to use products that meet federal standards to ensure the formula is safe and free of harmful bacteria.

During this difficult time, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Benito, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma counties and the city of Berkeley encourage parents and families to:

  • If you are currently breastfeeding, continue if possible. We recognize that this option may not be viable for everyone. If a person is partially breastfeeding, they may consider contacting a lactation care provider (in person or via telehealth) to help them maintain or increase their milk supply by breastfeeding more.
  • Talk to your child’s doctor about replace formula marks. For most babies, if their usual brand of formula is not currently available, it is acceptable to substitute a similar version. As well consult your child’s pediatrician if your baby needs a specialized formula, (therapeutic or metabolic formula for an infant with a medical condition requiring a different caloric or nutrient content), before making any substitutions. Your pediatrician may recommend a referral to a milk bank. If you have any questions about the acceptable formula, contact your child’s pediatrician or your local WIC agency. (In Contra Costa County, call (800) 414-4WIC.)
  • Avoid making your own formula at home, diluting the formula youto make it last longer, using an outdated formula, using cow’s, goat’s, or plant-based milk for formula, or giving formula to infants. This can reduce the amount of nutrients a baby receives and can lead to serious potential health complications. If no other options are available for feeding your baby, infants over six months of age may qualify for pasteurized whole cow’s milk, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. This is not ideal and should not be done for longer than a week. Talk to your pediatrician about giving your baby cow’s milk for a week to see if this option is right for your child.
  • Apply to WIC program. About half of all births in California occur to low-income families eligible for the WIC program, and income-eligible customers can receive a WIC card and use it to purchase a limited amount of formula at participating retail stores. . WIC offices are staffed with people with strong ties to their communities. Existing WIC customers should use their plan benefits earlier in the month in case they run into shortages near the end of their benefit period.
  • Find out what resources exist in the community and share these resources widely. If you see formula in stock while shopping, let your network know.

Health officials will continue to monitor the shortage and provide updates as new information becomes available.