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What Parents Should Know About the Current Baby Formula Shortage

A doctor shares some important advice for parents during the formula shortage crisis

Published on: May 11, 2022


A confluence of factors has led to a nationwide baby formula shortage. Dr. Dale Lee, medical director of clinical nutrition at Seattle Children’s, shared some advice for parents with “The Seattle Times.” Here are some key takeaways from Lee:

This excerpted post was originally published on the Seattle Children’s On the Pulse blog.
Seattle Children's

Contact your pediatrician

“I highly recommend that families contact their pediatrician for guidance and support in this difficult time,” said Lee. “Nutrition is a core building block of growth and development and we as your pediatricians are happy to help you navigate this challenging time.  It is important that families realize that they are not in this difficult time alone.”

Be careful when considering alternatives

Toddler formulas, such as formula intended for children over 12 months of age, are generally a higher caloric density than infant formulas, Lee told The Seattle Times.

Additionally, Lee notes that nut milks from a grocery store are of low caloric density and not formulated to be “nutritionally complete,” and can result in nutritional deficiencies.

“Diluting formulas likewise puts infants/children at risk of deficiencies,” added Lee. “It is important to speak with your pediatrician and/or dietitian to discuss changes in formula that involve more than changes from one standard cow’s milk-based formula to another.”

Avoid informal breastmilk sharing

While Lee says breastmilk sharing has risen in popularity, he does not recommend informal sharing.

“Breastmilk can be formally shared via breastmilk donor programs like the Northwest Mother’s Milk Bank, where procedures are taken to carefully screen, test, and pasteurize breastmilk,” said Lee.


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