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Navigating the infant formula shortage

April Litchford
There has been some recalls that have happened on infant formula, infant formula as regulated by the FDA and USDA quite rigorously, because they're so vulnerable, such a vulnerable part of our population. And so some of the infant formula people are used to purchasing has been recalled, so that has kind of started the ball rolling on a shortage. Because of that, some people started to stockpile, which we've seen before in the past few years and that has kind of created a little bit more of a shortage. So trying to catch up is causing a deficit in the stores, people aren't able to get the formula like they used to, or the kinds of formula they used to get. And so it causing a little bit of struggle and stress at this time.

Nick Porath
What are some tips that parents can use to find formula if they're having trouble finding any?

April Litchford
So a few things they could do is build a network of people that can check different stores. Look when they're out, because sometimes it just matters, like when they put it on the shelves when it's available. They could also not stockpile I know that's really tempting to do, especially when we're trying to feed babies. But the more we stockpile, that means getting way more than we need and keeping it in our homes. That causes a worse problem, because now we still don't have a good supply that's coming in regularly so that people can get a hold of the formula, and we may run into some issues with expiration of that formula if we store it for too long. So that's a few things you can do. There are also human milk banks that will allow people to purchase breast milk that have been donated and pasteurized. So find an accredited human milk bank and see if you can get some milk that way. I just want to remind everyone that infants should not eat anything else. But breast milk or formula. From the time they're born until the age of six months, they shouldn't have any other food or any other kind of supplemental milk until that time. And then after six months, they can start eating solid foods, if it is okay with their pediatrician, and if they tolerate it. But still formula and breast milk is their main source of calories and energy and nutrients. So it's kind of a rock and a hard place type situation. We don't want infants eating anything other than the formula or breast milk. So it may have to get a little creative on how we find the right kind of food for infants. Are there some things that parents should look out for? Yes, a couple of things that have been coming to light is that parents are purchasing formula online, which makes sense, right? We can't find it in our store. So we turned to online purchases. However, some of the formulas that are being purchased through certain suppliers are really relabeled formulas that have expired or are not up to FDA standards in our country. So we've had people purchasing formulas from other countries that they think have been vetted by the USDA and the FDA, and they are not. And we need to be careful of that because countries, other countries in the US don't have the same regulations for additives in their formula or the amount of nutrients in their formulas. And so be very careful about where you're purchasing your formula online and verify that it is the kind of formula that the FDA and USDA would approve here in America, and that it is not expired. So be really careful about that you can purchase formula online, just be very careful about who you're purchasing it from. Also, you may look in stores for different formulas that are similar to what your child ate before. Those are some things parents kind of get worried about if they should switch formulas. But if you don't have any other choice, you could switch a formula. Just make sure that it's similar to what your child had been using. And if you're using like a specialty formula, hypoallergenic formula, you may want to contact your pediatrician and find out what they would suggest that you use for that child. Also, just be aware when you're switching formulas with your child that it takes time for their little systems to adjust to new formulas. So it would be best to mix some as a new formula with the old formula and slowly introduce that to the child. Just be careful on how you do that as well. But yeah, beware of people that are trying to sell formulas that may not be safe for your child.

Nicholas Porath is a Logan native and music lover. Having graduated from USU with a degree in broadcast journalism, it was while studying journalism that he found his niche and newfound love for radio. He first started out as an intern behind the scenes and eventually made his way to the production and control rooms where he worked as a fill-in host, as well as producer for numerous UPR programs including <i>Cropping Up, Access Utah, Behind the Headlines</i> and more. In 2023 he took on a new hurdle as UPR’s new Radio Broadcast Engineer. He still works as a programming producer and is a member of the Society of Broadcast Engineers.