In the 2020’s, new years seem to bring completely new problems.
One major crisis that the government didn’t see coming is a national baby formula shortage.
It’s proving to be a very recalcitrant problem. On Monday, May 16, officials with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) put out some advice for those parents who have been blindsided by the shortage.
The press release notes that NCDHHS is doing what it can to increase access to baby formula for families who use the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. That program is better known as “WIC.”
“The February recall of certain Abbott infant formulas increased the demand for other brands of formula, which has worsened the lingering effects of supply issues that arose during the pandemic nationwide,” the statement reads.
NCDHHS offered the following warnings and advice for parents:
- Do NOT water down your baby’s formula to stretch it out. The department warns that doing so can be “extremely dangerous” to your baby.
- Do NOT try to make homemade formula or give your baby toddler formula before his or her first birthday. The warning notes that this can be dangerous for babies as well.
- If you can’t find formula – or can’t find your baby’s specific formula – try to work with your child’s health care provider to arrive at the best feeding options.
- Only buy formula from reputable retailers – never from unknown vendors in this country or abroad. “How formula is stored and shipped can impact its safety for your baby,” state officials advise.
Right now, NCDHHS is working with the US Department of Agriculture – as well as other federal agencies and private companies – to help make it easier for families to find formula during this shortage, the department is, for instance, placing bulk orders with manufacturers on behalf of NCDHHS clients.
Also, to make it easier for WIC participants to get formula, NCDHHS has requested waivers from federal regulations that will allow the department more flexibility when it comes to purchasing formula.
NCDHHS will continue to update information as it becomes available. Those affected by the shortage can follow the latest developments at https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/child-and-family-well-being/community-nutrition-services.