PHOENIX (3 on your side) – The current shortage of infant formula is getting worse. As parents and caregivers scramble to find the food they need for their babies, Arizona’s WIC Shoppers hotline is facing a surge in calls from people with questions about it, learned 3 On Your Side. Pediatricians also hear from worried moms and dads.
“We’re certainly getting a lot of calls about the shortage,” said Phoenix Children’s pediatrician Dr. Farah Lokey. According to a recent Datasembly report, there is a 31% out-of-stock rate this month for infant formula. In January, the stock-out rate was 23%. The shortage is caused by ongoing supply chain issues and a mass recall of several popular infant formula brands, including Similac, which wiped out existing products. “Inflation, supply chain shortages and product recalls have resulted in unprecedented volatility for infant formula,” said Ben Reich, Founder and CEO of Datasembly. “We expect the infant formula category to be significantly impacted by these conditions.”
Major retailers like Walgreens, Target and CVS now limit the amount of infant formula shoppers can buy. “It’s no problem to switch from one brand to another if necessary. These are usually the same ingredients, but maybe changed very little and minimally, but you can switch between brand names or off-brand names from supermarkets and bulk stores. Tom Herrmann, spokesman for the Arizona Department of Health Services, which administers the USDA-funded Arizona WIC program, said the state has a contract with Abbott, the maker of Similac formulas. “Arizona’s WIC Shoppers Hotline has received an increase in calls regarding the recent infant formula shortage and recall,” Herrmann said. “Abbott and the USDA have provided the Arizona WIC program with some flexibility to temporarily provide non-Similac formulas when they are not available in stores. Due to temporary flexibility, Arizona’s WIC program can provide standard infant formula without a doctor’s prescription. Medical formulas always require a prescription from a medical provider.
“The Arizona WIC program receives frequent updates from Abbott on the infant formula recall, and Abbott will notify the Arizona WIC program when the temporary flexibility to provide non-Similac standard formulas ends,” Herrmann added. “The Arizona WIC program has worked closely with families to find the right formula to meet their infant’s nutritional needs. If a WIC participant has questions or has difficulty finding a formula, they should contact their WIC office directly.
Although you can switch brands of formula, health care providers emphasize that you should never try to create your own formula mix, and you should never add extra water to try to make the formula last longer. . “Mix them exactly as directed on the box,” Dr. Lokey warned. “If you put more water in it to stretch it out, the water can be what we call ‘free water’, which is water not mixed with anything else, maybe dangerous for infants, especially under six months, which can cause seizures if they have too much water in their systems.Dr Lokey says that for children under one year old, it is also important avoid cow’s milk. Instead, stick with formula or breast milk. If you have any questions or concerns, ask your pediatrician.
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