Navigating Formula Shortages

Be Strategic, Don't Hoard and Don't Make Your Own
I-95 Traffic
I-95 Traffic Photo credit Matt Demlein, WRVA

RICHMOND, VA (NewsradioWRVA.com) – The Virginia Department of Health issued guidance in direct response to inquiries from parents and caregivers regarding the nationwide infant formula shortage.

VDH offers the following advice for families, guardians, and loved ones looking for formula:

-- Do not use “home” recipes for making your own formula, and do not dilute the formula or alter package instructions in any way as these practices can have severe, at times fatal, consequences for the infant.

-- Purchase only a 10-14-day supply each time. Stockpiling will only make shortages worse.

-- Call ahead to nearby stores to find the ones that have formula before you travel.

-- Check smaller markets and drug stores when the big box stores and supermarkets are out.

“The Virginia WIC Program continues to navigate through the formula shortage issues,” said State WIC Director Paula N. Garrett, MS, RD. “With the Abbott formula recall, Virginia WIC was able to expand formula options available to our participants. The list of the most recently updated Virginia WIC-approved formulas and substitutions can be located on our webpage at virginiawic.com. The low inventory of formula is causing many of our participants to search at multiple authorized vendors to locate necessary products. In some instances, Virginia WIC is able to order formula through our formula distribution warehouse for participants; however many of those items are backordered and out of stock as well. Virginia WIC continues to work with our participants and their healthcare providers to help locate the necessary formulas.”

Parents and caregivers are encouraged to visit the VDH blog for the most updated information and additional resources, including information on transitioning back to full breastfeeding (if only partially breastfeeding) or re-lactating (if not breastfeeding). Caregivers can also contact their local health department for additional assistance.

Additionally, VDH encourages well-meaning individuals who wish to buy formula and donate it to, instead, leave it on the shelf.  It is easier for the families that need the formula to find it if it stays in the marketplace.

Virginia WIC has obtained the applicable waivers as recommended by USDA to facilitate access to infant formula during this shortage and has created a crosswalk of affected infant formulas and their types to alternatives that will support the nutritional needs of the infants.