Doctors advise parents on getting through baby formula shortage

Families in Kansas and across the U.S. are still struggling to find formula for their babies.
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 5:33 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Families in Kansas and across the U.S. are still struggling to find formula for their babies. The shortage has been ongoing for months and is only getting worse. Parents are checking multiple stores, only to find empty shelves.

It’s a situation that new mother Katie Long says makes her heart sink.

“I get defeated by that, and I hate that as a mother,” she said of seeing the empty formula shelves.

She’s looked everywhere for Similac Sensitive formula, which is easier on her daughter’s stomach than the standard Similac. But it’s nowhere to be found at stores in McPherson, Hutchinson, and Newton.

“We couldn’t find it online either,” Long said.

Being a new mom is challenging enough as it is. Long knows how vital formula is for her baby’s growth and development. She’s far from alone with the situation she faces. The circumstances have many parents turning to alternatives, including homemade formula. With that, pediatricians offer advice.

“It has to have the right balance of nutrition, from the carbohydrates to the fats to the proteins, along with other micronutrients,” said Ascension Via Christi pediatrician Dr. Amy Seery. “This is a special product that’s really hard to recreate and find elsewhere.”

Dr. Seery said before you switch formulas or try alternative methods, meet with your pediatrician. As with adults, each infant has different and specific dietary needs.

“If [parents] think they might need to make a change, if they aren’t finding an equivalent formula to what they used in the past and so they’re going to use a dramatically different type (of formula), have that conversation,” Seery said. “We want to make sure that things are stylized to what’s necessary to [infants] for their ideal growth.”

Unable to find Similac Sensitive formula anywhere, Long said for now, she’ll continue to give her daughter the regular Similac Pro-Advance as she has before. Dr. Seery said there are a few big questions regarding your infant’s growth.

“Is your kiddo gaining weight? Are they growing? Are they getting that nice, large head circumference? If those things are being met, most likely that child is doing well,” she said.

We’ve seen a lot of recipes for at-home formula recipes on social media. The American Academy of Pediatrics says not to do this as many of the homemade formulas won’t meet a child’s dietary needs.

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