CLEVELAND (WJW) – Eleven-month-old Isaiah likes a good snack and although he may be thinking of a burger right now, formula is going to be a part of his daily routine for a least a little while longer.
Finding baby formula is a little tough right now with shortages worldwide also affecting U.S. store shelves.
“It’s been inconvenient,” Isaiah’s mom, Katie Goldby, said. “We usually get it at Costco. At first, I tried to stock up and they limited it to two at a time, or two [stores] that we’ve gone to, they haven’t had any. And I know my sister-in-law, who has a baby too and orders Similac on Amazon, and sometimes it’s been out of stock.”
It’s the same story across the country.
Two things have happened. The largest makers of baby formula, Abbott and Mead Johnson, both have experienced problems getting some of the ingredients they need, which has slowed production.
Also, a large recall of certain lots of Similac and two other brands in February has added to the supply problem.
Even if your usual brand isn’t available, pediatricians say most children can adapt to another brand.
“I’m sure there are taste differences and every baby has preferences, but if you do need to change formulas, it should be OK,” Dr. Lauren Beene with Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital Suburban Pediatrics, said. “The only exception would be babies who are on special kinds of formulas like certain hypoallergenic formulas or elemental formulas.”
Beene said they get a lot of questions from parents about what to do when their preferred brand of formula isn’t available. She said not to use cow’s or goat’s milk. It doesn’t have anywhere near the correct nutrition for an infant and could cause problems.
Don’t think about diluting the formula you already have to make it stretch, either. You can change brands, but all formula needs to be given in the proper mixture.
“The contents of formula, in particular, the electrolytes, sodium, potassium and all of that, are in a very specific ratio and when diluted with extra water, they become too diluted and baby’s kidneys are not mature enough to properly filter extra water.” Beene said.
Beene encourages parents who are having trouble finding the formula to talk to their pediatrician because they might be able to point them toward resources that can help.
The major makers of baby formula say they hope to get supplies back up, but there’s no timetable.
For parents, the limits and shortages will continue to be a pain.
“Generally, we’re trying to get value for the price,” Goldby said. “That is especially frustrating [when] there is limited availability and there is less choice and you have to choose something expensive. Thankfully, he’s not picky. But some babies are.”
Beene said if you have any questions about formula, you should contact your pediatrician.