How should parents who cannot find formula feed their babies?


Parents across the United States struggle to find formula, driving their cars and spending hours in local stores, rummaging through shelves looking for nutrition for their kids.

Millions of babies depend on formula, and over 40% of the most popular brands Out of stock in stores nationwideAccording to Datasembly’s analysis of grocery inventory,

For parents who may not have access to their baby’s usual formula products, pediatricians and maternal health professionals provide advice on do’s and don’ts. in the midst of lack.

Try whole milk

Dr. According to Steven Abrams, whole milk is a safe alternative to formula as long as it does not require special assistance and is only used as a replacement for a short period of time for most babies 6 months of age and older. Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School.

“But for babies under 6 months of age, it’s really problematic, especially during the first few months,” Dr Abrams told CBS MoneyWatch.

Find a sample in the pediatrician’s office.

Most pediatrician’s offices stockpile a sample of milk powder that can process parents for a short period of time until the store can be refilled. Also, check with your pediatrician for European formulas that may be similar to products temporarily unavailable in the United States.


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Buy store brand products

Consider switching to store-branded infant formula products.

“Unless your baby is using special formula, most of the ingredients are similar,” said lactation management provider Jackee Haak, director of the American Association of Lactation Consultants. “For the regular formula, there’s also a chance, because the brand switch isn’t as scary as people thought.”

breastfeed if possible

Parents who are considering breastfeeding can contact a lactation counselor if their baby is currently dependent on a formula diet. Most insurance companies will also cover the cost of purchasing a breast pump.

“If you don’t want to breastfeed, you can express and bottle feed. [the] Baby. This may be a short-term choice for parents until it changes,” Haak said.

Not everyone can breastfeed, Haak said. “It is a myth that not everyone is capable of breastfeeding. Barriers make it difficult.”

Contact your breast milk bank

The Human Milk Banking Association of North America, made up of 30 non-profit milk banks across the United States and Canada, is urging more women to donate their own breast milk.

Parents who want donated breast milk for their baby can usually get a prescription from their pediatrician.

“The milk bank can take donations, process it, do a lot of testing, pasteurize it, and then freeze it for distribution,” said Natalia Summerville, a breast milk and formula expert and instructor at Duke University and the Massachusetts Institute of the Massachusetts Institute. technology said. “I go to the intensive care unit a lot, but when I have a surplus, I expand to donate to the pharmacy.”

He added, “It’s similar to donating blood. Mothers do a great job of milking, donating, and distributing milk.”

Talk to your pediatrician first and ask for a prescription if you believe donated breast milk is suitable for your child. If so, contact your local breast milk bank and ask if they have extra milk available. It is usually provided free of charge to families in need.

“Many mothers who can afford and have enough milk to feed their babies are willing to donate to the societal benefit,” Somerville said.


Parents worry about shortage of milk powder

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Connect on social media

Find support groups on social media websites like Facebook dedicated to helping parents find formulas through crowdsourcing.

“There are supplies in several locations,” Haak said. “Some people are looking for supplies, and a lot of sharing is going on. “I think people say, ‘I’m in this area, and this is what I see. Does anyone want me to buy this for them?'”

Jennifer Kersey, 36, of Cheshire, Connecticut, said the last can of formula for her 7-month-old son ran out when someone saw a post on her Facebook group and delivered a few sample cans.

“I started reaching out to people, ‘Do you have this formula?'” she told The Associated Press.

It’s a collective effort. Group members who find formula in stock provide formula to mothers in need.

“If someone suggested to me, ‘I have these three,’ I’d say, ‘I’ll get a purple can and put another can on that website,’ Kersey said.

Do not dilute the formula

“We don’t want parents who over-dilute their formula,” said Dr. Abrams of UT Austin. “It’s definitely better to use cow’s milk than over-dilute it.” The dilution formula is “basically the same as giving the baby extra water. What it does is fill the stomach. It doesn’t really nourish it. It doesn’t do anything to strengthen the baby, it just uses juice,” he said.

“Diluted formula changes your baby’s electrolytes and can upset your baby. It’s not recommended because babies aren’t getting the nutrients and calories they need,” added lactation care provider Haak.

Don’t do it at home.

“We cannot recommend the use of home-made formula or anything like that,” Dr Abrams said. “It’s especially dangerous during the first few months of your baby.”

“Formula is designed and fortified to include everything your baby potentially needs. There are many recipes. [are] It’s never recommended to wander away from what your grandparents told you to do. There’s a lot of damage that can be done,” Haak said.

—APs who contributed to this report

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