Campus News

Infant formula shortages
 

To: HSC Faculty, Staff and Students

From: Dr. Janie Knebl, Interim Chief Medical Officer; Dr. Priya Bui, Chair, Pediatric and Women’s Health; and Dr. Tracy Chamblee, Patient Safety and Quality Executive

Date: May 20, 2022

Re: Infant Formula Shortages

We know that parents, many on our campus, are struggling to feed their babies amid the infant formula shortage. The purpose of this communication is to share resources and answers to questions that our patients, employees and students have had to navigate this crisis.

Resources for Finding Formula:

https://www.hhs.gov/formula/index.html

Important Facts about Feeding your Baby

Infants 0-6 months old:

  • DO contact your pediatrician if you are having trouble finding your baby’s formula. They may have formula samples to give you or other resources.
  • DO NOT add extra water to your baby’s formula. For younger babies, formula contains the right amount of important nutrients like protein and electrolytes like sodium that keep your baby healthy. Watering down the formula decreases the amount of nutrients and electrolytes that the baby receives and is very dangerous. Always follow the formula instructions for mixing. How to safely prepare baby formula with water: How to Safely Prepare Baby Formula With Water – HealthyChildren.org.
  • DO NOT give homemade formula. Homemade baby formula is dangerous for babies due to the lack of important nutrients and the possibility of contamination, both of which can harm a baby.
  • DO NOT give juice as a replacement for formula. Juice does not contain the important nutrients and electrolytes that babies need to grow and develop and is very dangerous for younger babies.

Infants 7-12 months old:

  • If your infant is over 6 months old and has no known food allergies or difficulty with digestion, you may temporarily use whole cow’s milk during the formula shortage. This is not ideal and should not be done for more than one week. One concern with giving cow’s milk to a baby who is 7-12 months old on a long-term basis is that it does not contain enough iron. This can lead to a low blood cell count. If you have to use cow’s milk to feed your infant, do so for a short time only. During this time, make sure to give your baby plenty of iron-containing solid foods, such as baby food made with meat or iron-fortified cereals.
  • Soy milk may be used for a few days if there is no other option. In this case, use soy milk that is fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Discuss with your pediatrician.
  • How to add whole cow’s milk (or fortified soy milk): Start by adding small amounts of cow’s milk to your baby’s usual formula and gradually increase the amount of cow’s milk with each feeding. For example, if your baby drinks 8 oz of formula at each feeding, mix 2 oz of cow’s milk with 6 oz of formula. Be sure to keep the total amount of the feeding the same. At the next feeding increase the amount of cow’s milk to 3 oz mixed with 5 oz of usual formal. Continue to increase until the amount of cow’s milk is 8 oz.

FAQs

  1. What if baby formula is out of stock everywhere I look? Call your pediatrician. They may have samples in stock or other resources that you can access.
  2. What is the best way to switch formula brands? First, make sure the formula is the same type. Ask your pediatrician if you are not sure about your baby’s formula type. If your baby does not like the taste or has a hard time tolerating the new formula, try mixing the new formula with the usual formula. Start by adding a small amount and gradually increasing.
  3. My baby needs a special formula, but I cannot find it. What do I do? Contact your pediatrician. There may be a safe, comparable formula that you can use. In addition, limited quantities of special formulas are being released for babies in urgent need; your pediatrician’s office can fill out a request for your baby and the formula will be shipped to your home.
  4. If your baby drinks a special formula for allergies or other special health needs, click the following link to see a list of comparable formulas: NASPGHAN Tools for HCPs Managing Infants and Children Affected by Formula Recall – NASPGHAN
  5. Can I give my full-term baby a formula for pre-mature babies? Yes. Formulas for babies who were born pre-mature are safe to use for a short period of time if nothing else is available.
  6. Can I feed my baby goat’s milk? In the U.S., goat’s milk is not approved for babies. However, goat milk-based formulas are available in other countries. The FDA is considering approving these.