If you’re looking for formula or know someone who is and are trying to help, it can be *extremely* frustrating–even devastating—coming up short. Across the country, moms are finding empty shelves instead of the food their baby’s need. Unfortunately, at-risk families who may not have resources like unlimited gas money to search store-by-store, or stock up on a few months worth of cans once they find a full shelf, are most vulnerable. Here are some ways you can find formula, despite the shortage:
If you can’t find formula at a larger chain store, give a Mom & Pop store a call or visit. A local pharmacist at a small operation may be more likely to call suppliers for you and troubleshoot with you. An individual pharmacist can also coordinate with a pediatrician to expedite any medically necessary formula that a pediatrician can write a prescription for—just like they would with medication.
Ask Your Pediatrician
Not only can a pediatrician help a mom with a prescription for medically-required formula, but they may have samples of various brands of formula. And if a mom is thinking of switching formulas, they can help her find a similar brand that meets a particular baby’s needs, and give a mom tips on making the transition. “Mixing formula brands to transition baby to a new formula should be okay provided it is the same type of formula (for example, lactose-free, hydrolyzed, etc.),” says CT-based pediatrician Dr. Krissy Satchi. “Online formula finders (like this one from Enfamil) can also be helpful in finding formula anywhere in the surrounding area,” she adds. Your pediatrician can also talk about what alternative types of formulas may work in the short term for your particular child, and if and how you can supplement with more food, or different types of milk.
Go on Social Media
Across the country, private “mom groups” on Facebook are starting threads to share formula or information about where formula is found. Join any local Facebook groups that have them, and if you don’t see what you need, ask, someone may be able to help.
And if you don’t need formula that you have? If it’s unopened and not expired, consider posting it on social media or donating it to a food pantry. Even one container can make a world of difference to a hungry baby and a struggling mom.