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Baby Formula Shortages – Answering Parent’s Questions

We are still seeing the effects of COVID-19 causing shortages in many products, including baby formula. The scarcity of baby formula, coupled with several recalls, has caused parents of infants to become increasingly alarmed about the reality that they may no longer be able to give their children the nutrition they require. Although many believe that the best answer to this problem is to wipe out the shelves, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend this. According to the AAP, parents should not purchase more than a 10-day to a 2-week supply of baby formula. 


Our goal is to help ease parents’ worries about formula shortages and provide them with answers to important questions they have. Continue reading for insightful answers to many familiar formula questions parents have. DISCLAIMER: Please consult your child’s pediatrician before making any changes to your child’s formula or diet. If you have further questions regarding your baby’s nutrition, ensure that you speak with their doctor first. 


Can you add water to the formula? 

NO! You should never dilute your baby’s formula to help stretch it out. Be sure to always follow the instructions on the formula label or follow the instructions that your child’s pediatrician has given you. If you dilute the formula with water, your baby could be at risk of developing a nutritional imbalance, which could be detrimental to their health.  


Is it safe to make homemade formula?  

NO! Making homemade formula can be extremely dangerous, and the AAP strongly advises against it. Baby formula is developed by professional chemists who consider an infant’s nutritional needs and safety. It is essential to understand that developing baby formula requires extensive knowledge and education to be deemed safe for an infant’s consumption. Although there are homemade formula recipes on the internet, medical professionals do not recommend parents attempt to make homemade formula for their babies. 


Does baby formula expire? 

YES! The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is required to list the expiration date on every container of baby formula. To find it, you should locate the “use by” date on your child’s formula container. Unless your child’s formula has been recalled, it should be considered safe for your child to consume, as long as it is within the date of expiration. While it may seem obvious, we need to point out that you should NEVER give your child expired formula. 


Can I change my baby’s milk?

We do not recommend that you find alternatives for your child’s milk, especially if they are under one year old. Be especially careful not to give your child plant-based milk as they can be low in necessary nutrients that your child requires. 


How can I find my baby’s formula? 

We understand the worry that not being able to find baby formula may cause parents. If your child is still drinking baby formula, you can do a few things to locate it. Some parents order their child’s formula online if they cannot find it on the shelves. Be sure that you are cautious of purchasing formula online by checking all labels and assuring that all containers arrive sealed. Another option for parents may be to call local stores and ask if their child’s formula is in stock. Doing this could save you a lot of drive time and frustration from going from store to store to locate it. 


We are here to help! 

Our pediatricians at SuraMed Health Center are here to help parents keep their children happy and healthy. If you have concerns regarding your child’s nutritional needs or if you are having trouble finding a formula that your child consumes, we are prepared to assist you in finding a solution to it.  

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