GUIDE: Resources to help families find formula during the shortage
Many parents are hunting for infant formula after a combination of short- and long-term problems hit most of the biggest U.S. brands.
Millions of babies in the U.S. rely on formula, which is the only source of nutrition recommended for infants who aren't exclusively breastfed.
The shortage stems from a February recall by Abbott, the nation’s largest formula maker, that shuttered the company’s Michigan plant and exacerbated ongoing supply chain disruptions among formula makers, leaving fewer options on store shelves across much of the country. The shortage has led retailers like CVS and Target to limit how many containers customers can purchase per visit and forced some parents to swap and sell formula online.
If you are unable to readily find formula, check the resources below:
1. MANUFACTURER HOTLINES
Gerber’s MyGerber Baby Expert: Reach a certified nutrition or lactation consultant by phone, text, Facebook Messenger, web chat, or video call, who can help you identify a similar formula that may be more readily available.
Abbott’s Consumer Hotline: 1-800-986-8540
Abbott’s urgent product request line: ask your OBGYN or your infant’s pediatrician to submit an urgent product request by downloading and completing THIS FORM.
Reckitt’s Customer Service line: 1-800 BABY-123 (222-9123)
2. COMMUNITY RESOURCES
Locate your nearest Community Action Agency (CAA). Your neighborhood CAA may be able to provide you with formula, or connect you with local agencies that have formula in stock.
United Way’s 211: Dial 211 to be connected to a community resource specialist affiliated with United Way who may be able to help you identify food pantries and other charitable sources of local infant formula and baby food.
Feeding America: Call your local food bank to ask whether they have infant formula and other supplies in stock.
Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA): Certain HMBANA-accredited milk banks are distributing donated breast milk to mothers in need; please note that some may require a prescription from a medical professional.
MORE: Authorities are warning against price gouging of baby formula. Here’s what to do if you suspect overcharging.
3. WIC-ELIGIBLE FAMILIES
Contact your local WIC office to identify or obtain additional sources of infant formula nearby. See links below for your state’s WIC program.
4. OTHER GUIDANCE
Call your OBGYN or pediatrician to see if they have in-office samples or can suggest a similar formula that may be more readily available in stores and is nutritionally similar to your infant’s typical formula.
The Real Deal: Tips to help parents get through the baby formula crisis
Do not water down formula, try to make formula at home, or use toddler formula to feed infants.
Don’t discard formula unless it is expired or is part of the recall. Check your formula’s lot code to see whether or not it was affected by the recall.
You can find more guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics.