What You Need to Know Now About the Baby Formula Shortage

Easy & Short Read

The baby formula shortage continues and parents are scrambling to find baby formula to feed their babies. What can parents do to find baby formula for their babies? Is homemade baby formula an option? Is it safe to add extra water to existing formula to get extra mileage out of it? Can parents give their babies cow’s milk? This post is intended to help provide helpful information for parents to help guide them. 

What can parents do to find baby formula for their babies? 

Call Your Pediatrician

There are a few steps that parents can take to find baby formula for their babies. First, in a news release statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents call their pediatricians. This is recommended because pediatricians may have some samples in stock. Furthermore, they may have connections to other local organizations, or ideas of other places to call, such as your local WIC clinic.

Check Smaller Stores & Drug Stores for Baby Formula

Second, Steven A. Abrams, MD, FAAP writes in a post at HealthyChildren.org, that parents can check smaller stores and drug stores for baby formula. He writes that the larger stores may be out of supply, but the smaller stores may not. 

Check With Your Local Government | Women, Infants & Children (WIC)

Third, check your local governments website for information. For example, the New York State website, recommends contacting the local New York State Women, Infants and Children Officor prescreen with Wanda, the Department’s chatbot, to see if the infant is eligible for WIC benefits. [WIC]

The New York State government website also suggests that families with WIC should check the New York State Women, Infants and Children vendor site to find a list of WIC approved vendors who may have formula in stock.

Food Banks— Feeding America Network

Fourth, food banks are another possible option. The Feeding America network has over 200 food banks nationwide, and 60,000 food panties and meal programs. Connect with your local food bank.

“Many Feeding America network food banks provide free baby food, formula, and non-food staples such as diapers, toilet paper, and more. Source: WIC Association-Blog The National WIC Association

Is homemade formula an option?

Additionally, you may be wondering, “why can’t I just make baby formula? After all, influencers are posting their own homemade baby formula recipes on TIKTOK. So why isn’t that an option?

Here’s why:

Homemade formula can be contaminated. Tanya R. Altmann, MD, pediatrician, child health expert, and author states in an email interview, “homemade infant formula usually does not have the essential nutrients babies need and can be contaminated with bacteria that lead to serious medical issues.” 

The American Academy of Pediatrics warns against making your own baby formula because there are significant safety concerns. The safety concerns include contamination and nutrient concentration. AAP warns that using homemade formula can harm your infant. – American Academy of Pediatrics – May 19, 2022

Other questions you may have are:

Is it safe to add extra water to your existing baby formula?

Is it safe to add extra water to your existing baby formula to get extra mileage out of it? Dr. Altmann states, “It’s very important to follow the exact instructions on every container and know that often international formulas do have different mixing instructions.” In other words.,”do not add extra water as that can dilute the nutritional content and throw off the electrolyte ratio, which can cause serious health problems in a baby.”

Is cow’s milk now a safe alternative to baby formula?

If your baby is older than 6 months of age and is usually on regular formula — whole cow’s milk may be a short-term option. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics states on their website — that this is not ideal and should not be done for more than one week. (Source: American Academy of Pediatrics]. 

The AAP has concerns with giving cow’s milk to a baby who is 7-12 months old because cow’s milk does not contain equivalent amounts of iron to formula. “If you have to use cow’s milk to feed your infant, ideally do so for as short a time as possible and for less than a week.”- American Academy of Pediatrics – May 19, 2022

Pediatricians— Dr. Altmann and Dr. Levine share their expertise:

Tanya R. Altamann, MD

Tanya R. Altmann, MD, author and pediatrician appeared on FOX 11 Los Angeles with anchor Araksya Karapetyan to discuss the issue of babies having whole cow’s milk. Watch here:


Alanna Levine, MD, Pediatrician

Watch Alanna Levine, MD, Pediatrician, Orangetown Pediatric Associates and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics discuss what parents can do to feed their babies. — How to Manage the Baby Formula Crisis — CBS News. 


In conclusion, when it comes to the health of your baby, always talk to your own pediatrician, nurse practitioner, and other health care providers.

Additionally, there are some options available to find baby formula. Explore the options. Talk with your pediatrician.

Above all, be an empowered parent. It may be tempting to follow trends and viral videos— but question what you see, hear, and read.

Your Turn

We’d like to hear from parents regarding the issue of the shortage of baby formula. Please share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.


American Academy of Pediatrics


Tanya R. Altmann, MD — Calabasas Pediatrics

Alanna Levine, MD — Orangetown Pediatrics

Steven A. Abrams, MD, FAAP

Abbott Infant Formula Update May 13, 2022



“Baby formula delivery arrives in U.S. from Germany” — PBS News Hour

“U.S. Will Airlift Baby Formula From Abroad as Shortages Grow Worse” — New York Times

The content on this website, newsletter and related broadcasts is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical condition. Promptly seek professional medical care if you have any concern about your health. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical regimen.

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