For many parents, the baby formula shortage can be just plain scary. Even if you can find baby
formula now, who's to say you'll be able to find it the next time you need it?
As your dedicated child healthcare provider, we'll do all we can to make sure you are equipped
with everything you need to keep your baby safe and healthy.
After sifting through the news and information that's been circulating about the formula shortage,
we've put together a list of options and resources to help you and your child until the store
shelves are fully stocked once again.
SAFE BABY FORMULA OPTIONS
Based on information from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
(NCDHHS), you can pursue any of the following options when you can't find your child's brand
of baby formula:
● CHECK SMALLER STORES & DRUG STORES.
If the larger grocery stores or pharmacies you visit are out of baby formula, stop by the
smaller stores and pharmacies around the Wilmington area.
● OPT FOR AN ALTERNATIVE FORMULA BRAND.
Even a generic or store brand will work. Don't rule out formula produced by smaller
manufacturers or organic formula options. For most infants, these lesser known brands
are typically just fine – unless your child requires a particular extensively hydrolyzed or
amino acid-based formula.
● ALWAYS ASK YOUR PEDIATRICIAN BEFORE CHANGING YOUR BABY'S
Your Pediatrician will be happy to discuss with you the options that will work best for you
and your child. And they will be able to tell you whether a particular formula option is
safe and healthy for your child's unique health situation.
● PURCHASE FORMULA ONLINE FROM WELL-KNOWN BRANDS.
That is, if you can afford it. Lately, we've seen online prices skyrocket. Make sure the
brand you are purchasing from has a strong reputation.
● JOIN LOCAL SOCIAL MEDIA GROUPS.
Wilmington families have already established a Facebook group – called Wilmington &
Surrounding Area's Baby Formula Search – to share information about local and online
sources of baby formula.
● TURN TO COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS OR MANUFACTURERS.
Take advantage of United Way's 2-1-1 information and referral service to locate food
pantries and charitable sources of formula in the area. You may even have some luck
contacting baby formula manufacturers directly.
● CONSIDER MORE FREQUENT BREASTFEEDING.
If your feeding plan includes a mix of breastfeeding and baby formula, consider
increasing the frequency and proportion of breastfeeding in your baby's feeding plan –
that is, after speaking with your Pediatrician and/or primary healthcare provider.
● REPORT TOO-HIGH FORMULA COSTS.
If you notice ridiculously high infant formula prices, bring them to the attention of the
North Carolina Department of Justice by submitting your complaint here or calling
● APPLY FOR WIC ASSISTANCE.
If you need help managing the high formula costs, consider applying for assistance with
FNS (formerly "food stamps").
UNSAFE BABY FORMULA OPTIONS
The NCDHHS and other reputable sources have also recommended avoiding certain formula
alternatives that have arisen despite the potential health consequences.
● Do NOT water down baby formula to make it last longer. If you don't follow the label
instructions (as well as Pediatrician-provided guidelines), the modified formula you use
may not provide the nutrients your child needs for healthy development.
● Do NOT use homemade baby formula. It may not include the nutrients vital to infant
● Do NOT use toddler formula before your child turns 1-year-old.
● Do NOT use plant-based formula.
● Do NOT buy formula from another country. Other countries won't necessarily have the
same health standards as the U.S.
● Do NOT purchase formulas from unknown sellers. This is especially a concern for online
transactions. More and more North Carolina families are falling for scams, through which
scammers are "selling" fake baby formula online just to make a little extra cash.
HOW TO AVOID A BABY FORMULA SCAM
Here are some steps you can take to avoid falling victim to a baby formula scam:
● Investigate the seller and manufacturer before you buy. To determine which
suppliers are trustworthy, check with the Better Business Bureau or call the North
Carolina Department of Justice at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.
● Use a credit card for online formula purchases. That way, you have the necessary
evidence if you need to make a dispute.
● Stay on-guard for scammers pretending to be government agencies. Scammers
have been calling families to "collect recalled baby formula." This is not how recalls work.
If you're concerned that your formula has been recalled, check the manufacturer's
website. If the product has been recalled, simply take it back to the store.
WHY IS THERE A BABY FORMULA SHORTAGE, ANYWAY?
Like many other industries, the baby formula industry faced supply chain challenges during the
COVID-19 pandemic. Then, in February 2022, there was a recall on certain Abbott infant
formulas. Not only did this wipe out many of the baby formula options on the shelves, but it
significantly increased demand for other brands of baby formula, only deepening the pandemic's
impact across the U.S.
NEED TO DISCUSS YOUR BABY'S FEEDING PLAN?
help you and your family in any way possible during this challenging time.