Advice for Dealing with Baby Formula Shortage

A pediatrician offers advice for parents who are concerned about the national baby formula shortage.

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CLEVELAND – Parents across the country are growing concerned about the baby formula shortage, which is showing no signs of improving any time soon.

So, what can they do to help ensure their little ones get the food they need?

“All of our pediatricians are receiving numerous calls from parents that they can’t find their specific formula brand or formula for their babies, it’s not on the shelves,” said Richard So, MD, pediatrician for Cleveland Clinic Children’s. “What we want them to do is look for a similar brand, it may not be the same brand and try generic.”

Dr. So said it is perfectly safe for parents to buy generic brands of baby formula instead, especially since the ingredients are very similar. The same goes for formulas designed for babies with sensitivities.

He said liquid formula is another safe alternative, however it is generally a little more expensive.

As far as buying formula off the internet, he said that’s fine as long as it is from a reputable company here in the United States that is FDA regulated.

He also discourages making homemade formulas, supplementing with cow’s milk or diluting store-bought formula.

“When parents can’t find it, they’re going to try to stretch out like a store brand formula and maybe diluting it, that’s very dangerous to your baby as well because formulas are very balanced from a micronutrients and electrolytes standpoint,” he explained.

Dr. So said part of the problem is many parents are starting to hoard baby formula. He advises only buying about two week’s worth at a time, that way there is enough for others in need.

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