Baby Formula Shortage

How to Navigate Baby Formula Shortage in the Bay Area

Families should avoid formulas that are: home made, watered down, expired, cow, goat or plant-based

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Supply chain issues and recalls have led to the ongoing shortage of baby formula in the United States and on Friday, Bay Area health officials released information about how to navigate the problem. 

Though California is in a better state than others, the shortage is still a concern, so Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma, San Benito, and Santa Cruz counties, and the City of Berkeley, encourage families to do the following:

  • Mothers than can breastfeed should continue to do so and should consult a lactation care provider to help ensure they maintain milk supply.
  • Check with family doctor about substituting formula brands to make sure infants are still getting the nutrients needed even if they have to take a different formula than they are used to. 
  • Avoid using formula that is: home made, watered down, expired, cow, goat or plant-based, or giving toddler formula to infants. “I would much rather you go to the emergency room to receive formula then even try to change the recipe of your formula,” says pediatrician Dr. Rebekah Diamond. 
  • Apply to WIC, you may qualify and be eligible for a WIC card that can be used to purchase a limited amount of formula at certain stores. Those already in the program are advised to use the benefits in the beginning of the month in case shortages get worse towards the end of the month.

All counties said they’d provide more information and updates as they become available. 

As for the country-wide issue, President Joe Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to speed up the production of formula and authorized flights to import supply from overseas.

The largest formula plant in the U.S., Abbott Nutrition in Michigan -- which is largely-tied to the shortage -- is set to reopen as soon as next week.

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