A nationwide baby formula shortage continues across the United States, with desperate parents scouring shelves to find nutrition for their infants.
Millions of babies rely on formula — the only source of nutrition recommended for infants who aren’t exclusively breastfed.
Two prominent pediatricians have advice for parents who are scrambling to find formula, offering a list of dos and don’ts:
The shortages are caused in part by supply chain issues, and pediatricians are concerned that fretful parents might make the situation worse by hoarding whatever they find on the shelves.
“I asked a mom today, ‘If you saw three cans on the shelf, what would you do? Would you buy two and leave one or would you take all three?'” says Dr. Richard So, a pediatrician at Cleveland Clinic Children’s. “I think the answer should be, take two and leave one for the next mom.”
Chicago pediatrician Dr. Joshua Wechsler agrees.
“You’re really just harming someone else in the process when you hoard. I know that’s hard to tell someone because when you’re desperate to feed your kids and you have the resources, you’re going to go out and buy what you can,” says Wechsler, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University School of Medicine and medical director of the eosinophilic gastrointestinal diseases program at the Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
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Do consider generic or store-brand formulas.
You might not be able to find your exact formula brand in the store or online, but by reading the labels of generic or store-brand options, you might be able to purchase essentially the same thing you’ve been feeding your child, So shares.
“Whether it’s Walmart, Target, Sam’s Club, Costco, those are just as good as your brand-name formulas,” So adds.
However, talk to your pediatrician before you substitute, if your option is very different from what you normally feed.
“If a parent is struggling to find nutrition, call your pediatrician about the best options,” So suggests. “For example, if someone’s on milk-