Steps to Keep Your Baby Safe during the National Formula Shortage

Updated June 22, 2022

Many parents and caregivers are worried and anxious about to how to safely feed their babies due to the recent Abbott formula recall and supply shortages. South Dakota WIC participants affected by the recall can temporarily purchase additional formula brands. Most babies can switch to another formula, including store brand, unless they are on a specific formula specialized for their medical needs.

Here are some additional steps you can take to make sure you are feeding your baby safely.

  • If you are offering a combination of breast milk and formula or previously breastfed, contact your local Community Health Offices – SD Dept. of Health to work with a breastfeeding expert to relactate or increase your milk supply to be able to offer more breast milk and less formula. 
  • Call the HelpLine Center at 211 to locate food distribution sites in your area that may have formula.
  • Unless your baby is on a specialized formula for medical needs, consider using a different formula brand, including store brand.
  • Click here to learn aboutchoosing an infant formula that’s safe for your baby. 
  • Do not feed your baby cow’s milk, goat’s milk, or other non-dairy milk until 1 year old, unless approved by your child’s pediatrician. These do not provide adequate nutrition for infants. 
  • Do not make homemade infant formula or watered-down formula. There are serious health and safety concerns. 
  • Do not buy formula online that comes from outside the U.S., which could be counterfeit.  National efforts are underway to secure safe, imported formula for US retailers. You will start to see imported formulas in your grocery stores or pharmacy. These have been imported based on special regulations and review to make sure they meet safety and nutritional standards. They are all brands widely used in Europe and Australia among other places with demonstrated safety.
  • Pay close attention to online retailers if purchasing formula. Make sure they are a legitimate, safe source and a verified seller of formula, especially with a possible increase of online scammers. 
  • Talk to your pediatrician about introducing complementary foods at 6 months or when showing signs of readiness. 
  • Purchase only the formula you need and do not stockpile. This will help make sure others have access to formula for their infants and allow manufacturers and retailers time to restock shelves.  

For more info and the most up-to-date public health guidance on formula, check out…

Source: USDA blog post Keeping Infants Safe in Midst of Formula Shortages written by Cindy Long, Administrator from the Food and Nutrition Service