The Baby Formula Shortage, Explained

The Baby Formula Shortage, Explained

Senior citizens and babies are perceived as the most vulnerable members of society. Babies and their families are currently facing significant challenges with the baby formula shortage. In Dallas, Texas, and across the nation, parents are now left scrambling as formula products fly off the shelves. This is a frightening time, and we understand that.

At HHM Health, we hope that this blog offers insight, advice, and potential solutions and resources for parents of newborns and babies.

Why is there a shortage in the first place?

Abbott Nutrition’s Michigan plant paused production of baby formula after two infants’ deaths and a product recall. Only four companies produce approximately 87-90% of America’s baby formula, and Abbott Nutrition produced almost half of that vital percentage. The Michigan location is also the nation’s largest baby formula manufacturing plant.

There are other causes for the shortage as well, such as strict import regulations and the uncertainty of shipping dairy-based products overseas. Also, unfortunately, WIC only allows one manufacturer per state.

What about breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding is not an automatic fix, because breastfeeding is not a feasible option for everyone. Breastfeeding is a luxury in itself. Not every person can produce milk or enough milk. Others may not be able to breastfeed at all. Some babies require formula for health or dietary reasons.

Ultimately, the baby formula shortage should not be shrugged off as a minor issue. It severely impacts anyone with a baby.

So, what can I do about this?

There is a silver lining: Abbott and the FDA plan to safely reopen the Michigan plant in the upcoming weeks. In the meantime, there are resources available for individuals and families alike.

What are the resources available for me and my family?

As you and your loved ones wait for the shortage to end, there are resources available. However, we always recommend that you call your baby’s provider for a consultation. Your provider will be able to point you in the right direction while navigating this uncertain time.

Other resources, besides your healthcare provider, include:

  • Calling your local food bank to see if baby formula is available
  • Calling your local WIC office for assistance (if your family is eligible)
  • Calling your pediatrician to see if in-office formula samples are available
  • Visiting smaller stores and drugstores to see if they have better stock
  • Shopping for baby formula online if possible

HHM Health is a non-profit community health center that provides compassionate and accessible quality healthcare. Our trusted team of providers offer a variety of obstetric and gynecological services, including high-quality prenatal care and pregnancy group sessions. Visit www.hhmhealth.org or call (214) 221-0855 to learn more about how we can help you.

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