Local families seeing baby formula shortages

As we continue to cover supply chain issues, one shortage that caught the eye of Western Mass News was baby formula.
Published: May. 10, 2022 at 10:53 AM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - As we continue to cover supply chain issues, one shortage that caught the eye of Western Mass News was baby formula.

Parents across the state and nation have been impacted by a baby formula shortage. Western Mass News spoke to Maria O’Donnell, the WIC director for Springfield North Tapestry. She told us they hear from concerned families daily, but WIC guidelines haven’t changed and families can still receive the items they are allowed.

“Baby formula shortages have been an issue since the fall because of supply chain shortages. Then, in February of this year, Abbot recalled some powdered formula manufactured in their Michigan plant, which led to more significant shortages…We are seeing improvements with some types of formula and expect things to get better for some formulas over the next couple of months,” O’Donnell said.

We also spoke to Dr. John Kelley of Redwood Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, whose office has received similar calls. They’re calling to ask to see what to do if they can’t get the formula that their baby has been on routinely

Kelley shared this advice on how families can get their babies the nutrients they need. First, don’t be afraid to switch brands if you can. If your baby is on a special formula for allergies, talk to your pediatrician. Second, buy from reputable retailers and be sure your formula is manufactured and distributed in the U.S. since its highly regulated and tightly controlled. Third, do not make homemade baby formula. Fourth, if you can, breast is best

“It’s the best food for the baby. It’s a perfect mixture of what the baby needs at different ages because breast milk changes as the baby gets older,” Kelley added.

Kelley also warned of the danger of attempting to extend a supply of baby formula by diluting it with more than the recommended amount of water on the packaging.

“That could be very dangerous to infants and cause metabolic problems electrolyte problems. In fact, years ago, I had one child that had seizures because of diluting formula,” Kelley explained.

If needed, Kelley also advised parents to reach out to their pediatrician for formula samples.