By Cindy Long, Administrator, Food and Nutrition Service
There are few things that worry a parent more than their children’s health and safety. The ongoing infant formula shortage due to supply chain issues, which worsened due to a major formula recall in February, has left many caregivers feeling concerned and anxious about their options for safely feeding their infants.
Families receiving formula through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, commonly known as WIC, are among the many affected by the recall. The Biden-Harris Administration and USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service are taking many actions to help ensure WIC participants can get safe formula to nourish their babies.
Some steps you can take to ensure the safety of your infant’s formula include:
- Learn more about choosing an infant formula that’s safe for your baby.
- Do not feed your baby cow’s milk or other non-dairy milks until 1 year old, unless you’ve talked to your child’s pediatrician.
- Don’t make homemade infant formula or water down formula; there are serious health and safetyconcerns.
- Do not buy formula online that comes from outside the U.S., which could be counterfeit, have a fake label or a wrong use-by date.
- Prepare and store infant formula according to the manufacturer’s instructions; do notwater down formula.
- Properly clean, sanitize and store infant feeding items.
- Always wash your hands when handling formula and feeding items.
- Talk to your pediatrician about introducing complementary foods by 6 months (no earlier than 4 months). Visit MyPlate to learn more.
Please note: Only medical professionals are qualified to provide advice on acceptable alternatives to formulas that may currently be difficult to find. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers tips for parents and caregivers who are struggling to find baby formula during the shortage. Please talk with your pediatrician about safe and appropriate feeding alternatives for your child if needed.
The Food and Nutrition Service takes seriously its role in making sure infants served by FNS programs, including WIC, have access to the safe, healthy food they need to thrive. We are committed to helping families navigate this difficult time.