ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Parents continue to struggle with a shortage of baby formula on shelves.
As of Friday, shelf supply is down by 43% nationwide.
Dr. Ed Lewis, a pediatrician with Lewis Pediatrics in Brighton says this can be tied to supply chain issues from the pandemic, but recent recalls are exacerbating the issue.
One major manufacturer of baby formula shut down plants, after concerns about contamination.
“Similac is a great formula, there are a lot of kids who are on it. If that’s not available, people have to switch to some of the alternatives which put stress on the whole supply chain,” he said.
He says if you have to switch brands, it’s okay to do so. The change may cause stomach irritation, but generic brands are reputable and work just as well.
If your baby has special dietary needs, that’s where it may get tricky.
“I think the most important thing is talking to your pediatrician or family practitioner, to see what the options are,” he said.
Clinics and pregnancy assistance centers are also experiencing struggles with the shortage.
Sue Sherman operates a pregnancy support center in Batavia, called All Babies Cherished. Her goal is to provide parents with resources after birth, like formula.
But lately, she’s had to turn to the public for help.
“Unused, unopened formula, if they no longer need it, if their baby is over a year old, and they’re willing to donate to us,” she said. “We’re running really low, coming through supplies very quickly.”
Biden officials say they’re working to cut down on packaging regulations to speed up production. They’re also looking to combat price gouging, and import more from overseas.
In the meantime, Dr. Lewis says parents shouldn’t panic.
He says it’s important parents don’t dilute formula, make their own, or turn to cow/plant-based milk. Those choices could put your baby’s life in danger.
In New York State, Governor Kathy Hochul says she’s working with manufacturers to monitor the supply of formula, and the amount going out in cans.
Her advice to parents struggling: contact your pediatrician, and visit your local Women, Infants and Children office for assistance. You could be eligible for benefits.
The House oversight committee has launched an investigation into these supply chain issues. They’re also looking into the conditions of manufacturing plants amid the recalls.