Guidance on the Baby Formula Shortage

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Baby Formula Shortage

Man feeding his baby

Guidance on the Baby Formula Shortage

As the baby formula shortage continues, there are certain precautions you should take. Below is guidance from the New York State Department of Health. Talk to your pediatrician if you have questions.

  • Check the lot code on any formula you have to make sure it hasn’t been recalled. Don’t throw away formula that wasn't part of the recall (unless it is expired). Be sure to follow the formula manufacturer's preparation and storage instructions.
  • Call your OBGYN or pediatrician see if they have office samples or can suggest a similar formula that may be available in stores.  
  • Don't water down formula. It may lead to dangerous electrolyte imbalances. Likewise, you should not attempt to make your own formula, especially using ingredients such as evaporated milk. These formulations are not nutritionally sound and may harm your baby.1
  • Milk alternatives, such as almond or plant-based formulas, are not recommended for babies under 12 months.2
  • It is not recommended to use toddler formula to feed infants. If you have questions, speak with your pediatrician.
  • It is safe to substitute any of the commercially prepared FDA approved formulas, including generic store brands, (i.e. Costco, Target, etc.). When searching online, be sure to only order directly from well-recognized distributors and pharmacies, such as Amazon, Target, Costco, etc. Avoid auction sites, social media, and overseas vendors.
  • If your child is eligible for benefits through the New York State Women, Infants and Children Office (WIC), you may be able to get formula at one of these sites
    • Please note: While Medicaid does not offer coverage for formula, there are circumstances in which transportation to get formula may be covered, as well as transportation to the hospital if a member’s baby if being kept there for feeding, bonding, etc. To learn more, or to check eligibility, visit Wanda.
  • If you are expecting, consult with your pediatrician about breastfeeding. Lactation counselling does not have copays for at least 60 days post-partum. Medicaid covers transportation to a covered lactation counseling visit and will be expanding coverage to more providers in the coming months.
    • The New York State WIC program also provides breastfeeding support and resources to new families. Families feeding a baby with human milk from a source other than the baby's mother should only use milk from a source that has screened its milk donors and taken other precautions to ensure the safety of its milk. A good resource is the Human Milk Banking Association of America.
  • Visit smaller stores and drugstores that carry formula. You may want to call first to see if they have formula in stock.
  • If your baby is closer to one year of age and eating more solid foods, a short course of whole milk may be safe until formula is obtained. Talk to your pediatrician to learn more.

Additional resources
Nurse Family Partnership
Newborn Home Visiting Program
Breast Milk Banks

 

1 “Keeping Infants Safe in Midst of Formula Shortages.” May 16, 2022. US Department of Agriculture, usda.gov.

2 “Cow’s Milk and Milk Alternatives.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cdc.gov.

New York City Long Island

Food Bank For New York City
252 West 116th Street
New York, NY
By apt: M-F, 4 to 6 p.m.; Call 212-566-7855

Baby Essentials of Long Island
Bethpage, NY
Call: 516-995-1790

Sisters With Purpose Inc.
1592 Fulton Street
Brooklyn, NY
Call: 646-460-4101

Angels of Long Island
350-23 E Main St
East Patchogue NY
Call: 631-803-6775

Blanche Memorial Church
10974 Sutphin Blvd
Jamaica, NY
Tuesdays 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.; Call 719-658-2458.

Westchester
Stew Leonard’s
1 Stew Leonard Drive
Yonkers, NY
Call: 914-375-4700