There’s nothing as important to families as the health and safety of their babies, and the formula shortage has left many people feeling anxious about how they’ll feed them. Some young children, teens, and adults with medical needs also rely on formula for their nutrition. They may be impacted by the shortage, too.
We know it’s not easy to change your baby’s diet. However, if you can’t find formula in stock, here are some tips for finding safe substitutes.
Find Safe Substitutes
Information provided reflects input from physicians and other experts at the Department of Health and Human Services, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the North American Society For Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition (NASPGHAN).
Try a New Brand of Formula
Note: Children younger than 6 months old should only drink breast milk or infant formula. Talk with your pediatrcian or other health care provider if you are having difficulty breastfeeding or finding infant formula.
Most babies will do just fine with different brands of formula, including store brands, as long as they’re the same type, like cow’s milk-based, soy, hypoallergenic (extensively hydrolyzed), or elemental (amino acid-based). Keep in mind that your baby may seem to not like the taste, or may have a hard time tolerating a different formula, initially. If this happens:
- Try slowly introducing small amounts of the new formula by mixing it with your regular formula. Slowly increase the amount of the new formula over time.
- Be patient, since it may take some time for your baby to get used to it.
- If your baby is vomiting, has gas pains, is crying or can’t be calmed down during feedings, is losing weight, has diarrhea, has blood or mucus in their poop, or is straining to poop, they may not be tolerating the new formula. Call your pediatrician or other health care provider if you have questions.
If you need help figuring out which formulas you may be able to substitute:
- Your pediatrician or other health care provider is always the best resource because they know your baby and their health history.
- You can also check this list of comparable formulas developed by an organization of pediatric gastroenterologists called NASPGHAN. Keep in mind that this list focuses on substitutes for formulas that were part of the February 2022 recall, so you might not see your baby’s formula listed here. Any substitution should only be done under the recommendation and supervision of your pediatrician or other healthcare provider.
- Learn more about formula preparation and storage.