How Baby Formula Shortage in the U.S. has Affected Infant Nutrition

By | October 16, 2023

The long-term problems stemmed from a pandemic that disrupted the supply chains of many products, including ingredients used in infant formula and caused labor shortages that plagued many industries.

Then, after reports of a bacterial infection in several infants, products manufactured by Abbott Laboratories were recalled, and the plant was shut down. Baby formula, one of the most important products on store shelves, is still in short supply in many places in the United States. Due to severe shortages in May and June, families across the country were forced to look for options to address the problem.

Despite a plant restart at the epicenter of the crisis and government efforts to bring in millions of bottles of infant formula from overseas, demand still exceeds supply in many states. These sudden changes make many parents anxious because when it is impossible to breastfeed, and there is no formula, the health of babies can be at risk.



Where can I find the formula?

Families can contact their pediatricians, who may have samples or supplies. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for overcoming shortages, it is safe for most infants to switch to another brand. According to the FDA and AAP, you should not make your formula using a recipe found on the Internet or elsewhere.

The FDA says homemade formulas can be dangerous, leading to contamination or low calcium. Doctors also advise against additional diluting of the formula, which can lead to nutritional imbalances and severe health problems. For babies over 6 months, cow’s milk is an option “for a short time,” but the AAP warns that it “should not become regular” because of concerns that infants will not get enough iron.


What are the dangers of cow’s milk:

  1. Very different in composition from breast milk or formula. It is not balanced in terms of trace elements: It is high in protein and low in iron but high in sodium.
  2. If cow’s milk is introduced early into the baby’s diet, the baby is at risk of developing iron deficiency.
  3. In an infant, cow’s or goat’s milk can cause small intestinal bleeds, constipation, and allergies.

You can also find posts about using goat’s milk instead of cow’s milk. However, it is also not a good alternative. After all, goat’s milk lacks essential components such as folic acid and vitamin B12. These are very much needed to prevent anemia and other dangerous diseases.

For many parents faced with a shortage of baby food, formulas from Europe have become a real salvation. European formula HiPP is the most optimal substitute for breast milk: it is better absorbed than regular cow’s milk and also contains all the necessary vitamins and trace elements for the proper and timely development of the child’s


Baby formula alternatives: What parents need to know

If you can not find the formula you used, you can replace it with any other. It does not matter if it is a product for a premature baby, a hydrolysate, or a cheaper one. Any milk formula is better than none.

The exception is feeding a baby with a milk allergy. If you can not find a therapeutic (hypoallergenic) formula, urgently seek help from the nearest pediatrician. There are no other options, as cow’s (goat’s) milk can cause serious complications. Do not take any risks!

It is not recommended to make the formula more liquid by increasing the amount of water. Do not increase the intervals between feedings to “stretch out” the supply of formula. Prolonged malnutrition is even more dangerous to health than formula analog.

If the child is over a year old, he or she can do quite well without baby formula. Other milk and milk products will replace it completely.


 Starting over with breastfeeding

The excellent news is that relactation is possible. Few people realize that lactation can be reestablished even weeks or months after an interruption. In such cases, with the support of a lactation consultant, attempts to begin breastfeeding can be successful. Relactation involves restoring lactation at any point after the mother has stopped producing milk.

The process of relactation is complicated, and there is no guarantee that it will be successful. It is vital to have a lactation consultant’s support and strong motivation.

There are no rules about how long it takes to restore lactation, and there is no guarantee that the attempts will be successful. However, it is worth the struggle. Breastfeeding is the best choice for your baby’s health.


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