INFANT FORMULA SHORTAGE

– Update: Thursday, June 9, 2022 –

English – INYO COUNTY, CA (June 9, 2022) – There continues to be a shortage of infant formula nationwide due to supply chain issues and a recall of infant formula due to bacterial contamination in the Abbott manufacturing plant in Michigan. After decontamination and inspection, the Abbott Sturgis facility reopened to manufacturing infant formula on June 4, 2022. The federal government is currently working on strategies to increase production of formula and help families access existing stock.

WIC has temporarily added more container sizes and types of powdered formula to help WIC families find formula for their infants at the store without updating California WIC Cards. Compared to other states California is faring better, but rural areas are continuing to have difficulty with accessing formula supplies.

The Inyo County Health & Human Services – Public Health and WIC programs continue to meet with the local healthcare providers to determine the needs and options for our community.

If you are having trouble securing formula for your infant, please call: your pediatrician, Inyo County Public Health (760-873-7868), or the Inyo County WIC Office (760-872-1885)

Babies need the right balance of nutrients – not too much or too little of anything – to grow and be healthy. It is important for your baby’s health to use products that meet federal standards to ensure the formula is safe and free of harmful bacteria.

During this challenging time, Inyo County is encouraging parents and families to:

  • If you are currently breastfeeding, continue if possible. We recognize this option may not be viable for everyone. If someone is partially breastfeeding, they may consider reaching out to a lactation care provider (in-person or by telehealth) to help ensure that they maintain or increase their milk supply by breastfeeding more.
  • Talk to your child’s doctor about substituting formula brands. For most babies, if their regular brand of formula is not currently available, it is OK to substitute with a similar version. Also consult your child’s pediatrician if your baby requires a specialized formula, before making any substitution. If you have questions about which formula is acceptable, contact your child’s pediatrician or your local WIC agency.
  • AVOID: making your own formula at home, using expired formula, using cow/goat/plant-based milk for formula, or giving toddler formula to infants.Although recipes for homemade baby formulas on the internet may seem like an answer to the formula shortage, they can be dangerous for your baby’s health. Pediatricians advise that homemade formula may not be safe or meet your baby’s nutritional needs.
  • Do not water down formula to make it last longer. When babies drink too much water, it’s hard on their tiny kidneys to process the extra water. It can also affect electrolytes which are essential minerals for the body. And if that happens, it’s not safe for a baby’s brain, muscles, and nervous system.
  • Apply to the WIC program. To apply call 760-872-1885. About half of all births in California are in low-income families who qualify for the WIC program, and income-eligible clients can receive a WIC card and use it to purchase a limited amount of formula at participating retail stores. WIC offices are staffed by individuals with close ties to their communities. Existing WIC clients should use their benefits for formula earlier in the month in case they run into shortages near the end of their benefit period.
  • Find out what resources exist in the community and share those resources widely. If you see infant formula in stock when you’re shopping, make it known within your network.

Health officials will continue to monitor the shortage and provide updates as new information is available.

Resources in English

Resources in Spanish – Espanol

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