Parents of newborns regularly rely on each other for support. How do I navigate sleepless nights? What is the most compact stroller? Is that rash normal? Do we really not talk about Bruno? But in the last several months a new question has popped up locally and across the country, what if I can’t find my baby’s formula?
While juggling a global pandemic, daycare closures, and inflation, many parents are facing the additional stress of a formula shortage driven by both concerning product recalls and supply chain disruptions. A review of formula supplies at more than 11,000 stores indicated nearly 30% of popular formula brands are sold out, and that number soars to well above 50% in some major cities.
Sarah Long, Clinical Director of The Milk Bank, empathizes, “The long-term strategy is to continue to advance breastfeeding as a primary pillar of infant health; however, we must also provide immediate relief for struggling families who may need support in accessing a safe feeding option for their infants.”
Donor milk may help you bridge a gap
The Milk Bank dispenses over 80% of safe, donor milk to NICUs & hospitals, donor milk is also available to dispense for babies at home.
- The Milk Bank can provide up to 40oz of bridge milk without a prescription. This is ideal for short term needs such as at discharge, transitioning to work, or, in this case, a bridge to finding a new formula. Milk can be shipped directly or picked up at more than a dozen convenient locations. Most families can receive milk in 24 hours or less.
- The Milk Bank can also provide safe, donor milk on a longer term, outpatient basis with a prescription. This is ideal for infants with a medical need.
- No matter how much milk you access, for families with a medical need, The Milk Bank also offers a sliding-scale Medical Relief Fund – because finances should not dictate a baby’s health outcomes. Call and talk to our friendly staff at 317-536-1670.
Parents looking to begin their breastfeeding journey – find support!
The Milk Bank provides free lactation support including consultations with one of our certified lactation professionals or we can help connect you to a professional in your area.
As an IBCLC, Long knows the many benefits of breastfeeding, but she also knows the noise moms must combat to receive accurate information and convenient support. “We must continue to meet all moms at their moment of need and empower them to reach their own breastfeeding goals – whatever those may be. Helping fragile babies is what we do at The Milk Bank.”
Turn to your health care provider to help you navigate the formula shortage
The American Academy of Pediatrics, has offered guidance in its latest “Ask A Pediatrician” feature.
Families are always urged to speak with their provider before making any healthcare decisions – so reach out to your own health care provider as well! They may also be able to help safely navigate the formula shortage. A couple questions to ask:
- Should we consider switching formula types or brands? If so, what do you recommend?
- Are you aware of any safe online or mail order options? (The FDA cautions against purchasing infant formula from unknown or unreliable sources that may lead to counterfeit formulas that have been diverted from normal distribution channels and potentially relabeled.)
Bonnie Logsdon, RD and IBCLC of Bonnie Knows Breast in Louisville, KY, “This formula shortage is a nationwide crisis. Families are worried and becoming desperate.” Bonnie shared a helpful reminder that, “if your child is over the age of one, please consider NOT continuing to purchase formula as that age no longer needs it.”
Stay safe & look for your helpers
Long reminds families to stay safe during this stressful time. “There are some serious safety threats to avoid. The FDA and other medical groups discourage families from diluting formula or creating homemade recipes for formula. Both situations could lead to reduced calories or critical nutrients vital to infant health, growth, and development.
Additionally, families should be aware of risks associated with informal milk sharing, and reach out to their pediatrician or provider in advance of making any alternative nutrition decisions for their infants.”
Once you have connected with local community resources and checked in with your pediatrician, lean on your mom-squad. In times of crisis, parents come together to help one another out. Tell your friends what to be on the lookout for when they’re out shopping.
In Indiana, The City Moms reported that,” once CityMoms heard of other mamas facing shortages, they instantly sprung into action, going so far as to hunt down specific brands at stores. This is the time to put your moms’ groups, friends, and family on alert – what might be a shortage in your area may be plentiful in another – so don’t be afraid to ask others to keep an eye out.”
We know you want the best for your child – and so do we – so please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions!