Parents are continuing to struggle as the baby formula shortage worsens in the U.S. According to a CBS News Update, retailers across the U.S. have reported that they are out of stock as of the week ending May 8th. Here is what parents need to know about the baby formula shortage.
The White House reported that the Food and Drug Administration is “working around the clock to address any possible shortages” and will look into importing foreign baby formula to meet domestic demand. Additionally, the FDA has reported that it is working with infant formula manufacturers to boost supplies.
However, in the interim, in addition to empty shelves, if they can find products, many parents are now limited to just how much the can purchase.
“Following supplier challenges and increased customer demand, we’ve added a limit of three baby formula products per purchase in our stores and online.” Matt Blanchette, a senior manager of retail communications at CVS Pharmacy told Good Morning America via email in April. “We’re continuing to work with our baby formula vendors to address this issue and we regret any inconvenience this causes our customers.”
A spokesperson for CVS Pharmacy’s competitor, Walgreens, told the popular morning news show the same thing.
“Due to increased demand and various supplier challenges, infant and toddler formulas are seeing constraint across the country. Similar to other retailers, we put into effect purchase limits of three per transaction on all infant and toddler formula to help improve inventory. We continue to work diligently with our supplier partners to best meet customer demands.”
Why is this happening?
According to both GMA and a variety of experts, the shortage is due to several factors, including: supply chain issues, rising inflation and previous recalls of baby formula products.
In that case, just what are parents supposed to do?
Well, first off, don’t DIY your formula.
Dr. Dyan Hes, medical director of Gramercy Pediatrics, advised parents not to make their own formula when they cannot find formula.
“Definitely do not make homemade formula. It’s not going to work out, and the baby is going to be malnourished,” she told CBS News in an interview. Dr. Hes advised parents to look for store-brand products from retailers such as Target, Kroger and Costco. She stated that, “Store brands are excellent…They are all FDA approved.”
In addition to never DIY-ing formula, parents should not water it down either. Diluting infant formula can cause life-threatening consequences for infants.
As the shortage continues, many experts suggest that parents and caregivers should reach out to pediatricians, pediatric dietitians, gastroenterolgists or nephrologists to ask for suggestions or help, especially if your baby has allergies or is sensitive to formula and breastfeeding is not an option.