CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — Parents are scrambling to find baby formula amid a nationwide shortage. The Biden administration and lawmakers say they are working on the issue.
Baby formula is one of many products impacted by supply chain issues. That only got worse when the Food and Drug Administration shut down a manufacturing plant in Michigan because of contamination concerns.
Republicans like congresswoman Elise Stafanik say Biden is to blame. President Biden said he’s trying to increase supply by cutting red tape for manufacturers and increasing foreign imports. But bipartisan calls are growing for the president to go further by using the Defense Production Act.
Meanwhile, parents and caregivers are left scrambling. Doctors are worried about what parents might resort to in order to feed their babies. Dr. Robin Darnell is a pediatrician at Kid Care Pediatrics in Kanawha City. She said parents are handling the formula shortage by working together to find out which stores have the supplies they need. “We don’t want them to feel panic. I know they are starting to feel panic,” Darnell said. She said they take calls daily from parents with questions related to the shortage of baby formula.
Even if parents can’t find the exact brand they are used to it might still be okay.
“It is hard for parents to understand how formulas are designed. There are milk-based formulas, but they are made by Enfamil and Similac. Those are the two commercial brands. But it is really like Ford and Chevy. They have the same ingredients by two different makers,” Darnell explained. She said there are also generic options with the same ingredients.
One thing she doesn’t recommend is trying the do-it-yourself approach.
“That is a no-no. Formula is very specifically made and there is an art and a science to it. It has almost 30 different vitamins and minerals. It has a certain mix of proteins. Never would it be okay to mix your own formula,” Dr. Darnell explained.
She said parents who are feeling desperate may also be tempted to dilute formula. But for their baby’s safety, she says it is important to follow the exact instructions.
“If you mix it differently or add too much water you are going to get a diluted formula that is going to impact the baby’s electrolytes. Their sodium and potassium will get out of whack,” Dr. Darnell said.
She said when in doubt the best thing to do is call your child’s doctor.