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A pediatrics care coordinator's advice during the formula shortage

A sign above a grocery store baby formula shelf notes that formula is limited to 4 per customer.
Rick Bowmer
The national baby formula shortage has created real fear in Utah moms who are searching for ways to find proper nutrients for their newborns. Many stores throughout the state are limiting the amount of formula individuals can buy to avoid hoarding.

Parents across the country are significantly concerned about the 43 percent drop in baby formula availability.

The national shortage of baby formula is deeply concerning parents of infants and expectant mothers as well. This situation becomes even more frightening for Utah mothers as approximately 45,000 newborns are welcomed in the state every year.

Mindy Buttars, a care coordinator for Utah Valley Pediatrics, said her role as a care coordinator and certified lactation consultant is to help moms adjust to the feeding needs of their babies. The baby formula shortage has only sparked new questions and concerns, especially for young Utah moms who are already balancing work, school and raising a young family.

“With the formula shortage, it’s just been a ton of answering questions, finding resources for moms, getting information, talking to our formula reps, kind of figuring out where we’re at so we can help our patients,” Buttars said.

Buttars has more recently put together a list of suggestions and advice for mothers who are concerned about how they will be able to provide nutritional needs for their babies during this time. She specifically stressed the importance of not being brand conscious anymore when it comes to choosing formula for your infant.

“We hear most about a couple of big brands, enfamil and similac," Buttars said. "There's tons of marketing that goes into those particular companies, but there are lots of other brands. Kirkland has a brand, Walmart has a brand, Sam's club has a brand, so basically if you’re able to find formulas similar to what you have now, you should get that.”

The list ranges from where to acquire formula to safe suggestions of what to use instead of formula once an infant becomes older and stronger. Buttars said using social media or online shopping websites is a great way to find formulas instead of being met with empty shelves at the store.

“Amazon, I’ve been checking everyday," Buttars said. "Friday, there wasn’t some available but yesterday there was, so I think it could be changing as quickly as last night to tomorrow morning, it could change. So parents just being diligent about looking.”

Buttars lastly mentions that it is important not to hoard formula if you see it in stores, but remember that others are desperately searching for ways to feed their babies as well.

Buttars' list is included below:

  • WIC allows parents to accumulate whatever they can find; a doctor's prescription is not required.
  • Enfamil Gentlease seems to be the most challenging formula to find, but if an infant is between 4 to 6 plus months, they can likely tolerate regular formula.
  • Enfamil Neuropro has the same milk proteins as breastmilk. Even infants that weren't tolerating regular formula when they were younger can likely tolerate it now.
  • While more research exists for Enfamil and Similac, there are many comparable off-brand formulas. Families should use Kirkland, Gerber, Baby’s Only, or Happy Baby if they can find it.
  • Amazon offers lesser-known brands with next-day delivery, though quantities are limited.
  • Utah Valley Pediatrics does its best to keep samples on hand. While not a supplier, they can help with a sample if families cannot locate formula elsewhere.
Sydney Lasike graduated from Dixie State University, in St. George, Utah, in 3 years with a bachelors degree in Media Studies (Multimedia Journalism Emphasis). There, she competed as a student-athlete on the women’s volleyball team, and was the Features Editor of the school newspaper, Dixie Sun News. She was awarded the 2021 Media Studies Student of the Year Award, and graduated with Latin Honors - Magna Cum Laude.