Baby formula shortage: What parents need to know

Add baby formula to the nationwide shortage list.

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Some varieties of baby formula are becoming increasingly more difficult to find, multiple media outlets have been reporting.

The shortage has been getting increasingly worse in some areas, parents said.

“We’ve noticed it being difficult to find maybe a couple of months ago — two, three months ago — and then just recently we can’t find it,” Irene Anhoeck told CBS News.

Anhoeck cannot breastfeed her 10-month-old son Marlo. She had used Similac instead but now can’t find it.

“We’ve tried all the local Targets. We checked Costco, Costco online, Walgreens, Long’s. Can’t find it anywhere,” Anhoechk told CBS News.

Low or no stock of baby formula is also being seen across the country.

Derval Kenny was trying to find Similac formula for her infant grandsons who live in other states. Kenny couldn’t find any when she looked two weeks ago.

“The shelves are just bare,” Kenny told The Wall Street Journal. She drove to Connecticut, ordered on Amazon, and still unable to find premixed bottles that her grandsons typically drink, only canisters of powdered formula.

A simple switch in brand or type may be easier said than done, as some children may be on a specific brand or variation of formula because of allergies, sensitivity or digestive issues, Parents magazine reported.

The Infant Nutrition Council of America confirmed there are issues, blaming everything from transportation to logistics and stockpiling by parents, but there is no shortage of product, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“It can take one post in a Facebook moms group to send some into a panic” and lead to stockpiling, Laura Modi, co-founder of online organic baby formula startup Bobbie, told The Wall Street Journal.

Research firm IRI found that before the coronavirus pandemic, stores had on average about 95% of formula in stock. Last week, 10 national retailers had between 75% and 98% of formula in stock with Seattle, Wichita and Tuscon among the worst-hit areas, IRI found, according to CBS News.

Reckitt, which makes Enfamil, said it has “ample supply” of its products and that it is shipping 50% more than they normally do, as fast as possible, CBS News reported.

Abbot, which makes Similac, directed comments to the Infant Nutrition Council of America. The group said it is working with suppliers, distributors, retailers and state agencies to make sure families can get formula. The group also said that caregivers should speak with a health care provider when they have questions or are concerned about feeding.

What can parents do when they can’t find the formula they typically buy?

Parents magazine suggests trying to order from the manufacturers, or — instead of going to a grocery store — trying a drug store, baby supply store or Amazon instead. You may be able to get an online subscription.



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