If You're Stressed Over The Baby Formula Shortage, You're Not Alone

A baby formula shortage is affecting millions of families across the United States. This vital alternative to breastmilk is flying off store shelves as demand skyrockets due to supply issues and recalls, CNN reports.

Families who choose not to breastfeed, cannot breastfeed, or have a child with special feeding needs or health conditions, rely on formula to feed their little ones. However, back in February, on top of an already stretched-thin supply, Abbott Nutrition, a large baby formula manufacturer, shut down a plant in Michigan after several reports of infants becoming sick and dying after consuming formula made in the facility.

Relief from the baby formula shortage may be on the way, giving new hope to many families nationwide. According to NPR, the Abbott Nutrition facility in Michigan is set to reopen after the company reached an agreement with the U.S. government. The government also plans to ease some restrictions and is going global in the search for safe baby formula. Despite these new relief efforts, it may take weeks until families notice an increase in baby formula production.

How to find baby formula

While families wait for the production and delivery of more baby formula, there are steps they can take in the meantime. If you're unable to find baby formula, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommends contacting baby formula manufacturers such as Abbott, Gerber, and Reckitt, as they may be able to assist you.

Be sure to also check with resources in your community, like United Way, WIC, Feeding America, human milk banks, or your Community Action Agency (CAA). These places may have formula available for you, or know of locations with baby formula in stock. Additionally, check with your OB-GYN or child's pediatrician to see if they have any cans available.

In addition to checking with the manufacturers and your community, families should also consider looking at smaller stores. USA Today reports many local pharmacies, baby stores, and convenience store chains sell baby formula, so check lesser-known businesses before large retailers.