A few quick resources for getting through the formula shortage

(Because telling every mama the answer is to breastfeed is soooo not helpful)

Motherhood is never easy, but so many mamas in the U.S. are really going through it right now because of the formula shortage. Figuring out how you’re going to feed your baby should not be something mothers have to worry about in this day and age, but here we are. 

Like so many other mamas right now, you’ve probably scoured the internet, checked all the big and small local stores, and even reached out to friends and family to ask them to keep an eye out for formula in their areas. But with no clear end date in sight, what’s a mom to do to maintain her sanity and get her hands on the food she needs to feed her baby?

Well, we’ve finally received some good news. Shipments of formula from reserves in Europe are making their way to the U.S. and the Abbott plant in Michigan is on track to reopen in early June. 

But as we get through this shortage together as parents and wait for the shelves to fill back up, we want to be more helpful than the Twitter voices screaming “BREASTFEED!” with absolutely no empathy, understanding, or knowledge of the particular choices, lack of choices, and unique situations of each mama.

So, we’ve put together a few resources for you to look into if you haven’t already.

If you need specialty metabolic formula…

If your baby needs a specialty metabolic formula, ask your pediatrician to fill out a request form with Abbott’s urgent product request line. Abbott is releasing a limited amount of their metabolic formulas + Similac PM 60/40, and you may be able to get some shipped to your home.

If you’re looking for products similar to the formula you’ve been using…

Can’t find your formula anywhere? Gerber has a MyGerber Baby Expert hotline where you can chat with a certified nutrition or lactation consultant who can recommend formulas that are similar to what your baby is used to, but may be easier to find. 

If you’re using WIC benefits to buy formula…

While WIC typically only covers specific brands of baby formula in specific sizes, during the formula shortage, many states are allowing caretakers to use WIC benefits for other brands and sizes. Check your state to see what they’re allowing. 

If you’re considering supplementing with donated breast milk…

The Human Milk Banking Association of North America is a source for donated and screened breast milk that you can feel safe giving your baby. Unfortunately, many breast milk banks have had high demand and low supply since the start of Covid, but it’s worth a shot if you’d like to supplement with breast milk. 

If you’re considering rebuilding your milk supply so you can pump or breastfeed…

First, let us start by saying that we know breastfeeding is not always possible or what’s best for every parent or infant. That said, if you are able and think you may want to try rebuilding that milk supply so you can pump or breastfeed your baby until the formula shortage is behind us, a breast pump or hand expression can help you restart your milk supply. Just know that it can take anywhere from weeks to months to induce lactation. You can also give lactation stimulating foods, drinks, or supplements a try, like this Lady of La Leche tea. It’s on our Mommy-Must-Haves list, so when you use code MOMMY50, you’ll get it half price. 

Btw, did you know you can get a free breast pump through your insurance? The Mom Squad can take care of the process for you so you don’t have to add “deal with insurance” to your list of stressors right now. 

Don’t forget to check in with your local resources

While it hasn’t exactly been an easy few years for community groups like food banks, it’s worth reaching out to your local food bank to see if they have any formula on hand. You can also dial 2-1-1 to chat with someone at United Way. They may have an inside scoop on where you can find formula in your area. 

Okay, one last thing…

One more thing before you run: Hang in there. You *are* enough and you are *doing* enough. There are few things scarier and more stressful than what you’re going through right now, but things will get better (and hopefully very soon). 

And remember that there are so many other moms, dads, and caretakers going through this with you – look out for them, too. You might be inclined to buy every last bit of formula when you find it, but if you can, buy just enough for two weeks or so. That way other parents in your area who are going through the same struggle will find some formula on the shelves when they need it most.