Baby Formula Shortage and Available ResourcesMay 18, 2022
The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) is utilizing numerous options to assist families across the state access baby formula during the nationwide shortage.
The formula shortage started last fall due to supply chain issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. It was exacerbated in February when Abbott recalled powdered formula manufactured in its Michigan plant and temporarily shuttered it.
Abbott is allowing the Connecticut WIC program to offer 80 comparable formulas while the company’s products are not available.
DPH has been working closely with local agency staff to help families find retailers that have in-stock formula, or even switch the participant's benefits package when needed. DPH also has been working directly with manufacturers to order emergency formula.
While WIC encourages breastfeeding for at least the first year of life, only about one-third of Connecticut infants are breastfed.
Other suggestions and resources include:
- Check smaller stores or pharmacies for availability. During the formula shortage, it may help to visit stores more frequently and buy formula as it becomes available
- If you can afford it, buy formula online until store availability improves. Purchase from well-recognized distributors and pharmacies
- Use caution when purchasing formula from individual or private sellers. You can report price gouging and scams to the CT Office of the Attorney General, HERE, or to local police
- Check social media groups that are dedicated to infant feeding and formula. Members may have ideas on where to find formula. Always check with your pediatrician regarding any provided advice
- It is unsafe to add more water to formula, make homemade infant formula, or use regular cow’s milk, or other milk substitutes to feed infants. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends feeding infants iron-fortified infant formula during the first year of life when breastmilk is unavailable
- WIC families can contact their local WIC office with questions. If you are unable to reach your local WIC office by phone you can send an email. Find local WIC office phone numbers and emails by clicking HERE. You can also reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-741-2142 for assistance
- Call 2-1-1 or visit 211ct.org to locate community organizations that provide emergency formula
- Connecticut participates with Mother’s Milk Bank Northeast, which sends most of its donated breast milk to neonatal care units across the state. It’s also available for purchase. Please visit milkbankne.org/receive to learn about it
- The US Department of Health & Human Services has additional resources for families to use. Click HERE for more information
While these resources will not solve the formula shortage, I hope they’ll be helpful during these challenging times.