Formula is becoming increasingly difficult to find as almost half of formula brands are out of stock. We know how frightening it is to be unsure how you are going to feed your baby and wanted to share some tips on keeping your babies nourished, growing, and thriving.

  • Most healthy babies can transition to one of the standard, FDA approved formulas without much issue. Anytime you change formulas, it can cause a little GI upset, meaning they can be a little gassy, have a change in bowel habits, or be a bit fussy. Generally this only lasts a few days, and should not cause any harm or long-term consequences.

  • If you have some of your child’s usual formula, you can help them transition by gradually introducing the new formula. Make as directed, and give 75% usual formula + 25% new formula for a day or two, then 50/50 and so on.

  • If your baby is on a “sensitive” formula, you could try another brand of formula in the same category. Some have less lactose, some with a different probiotic, some are partially broken down, therefore easier to digest. It may be worth discussing your options with your pediatrician if your baby is on one of these formulas. Soy-based formula may also be an option.

  • If your baby is on a specific formula for severe reflux, such as Enfamil AR, a substitute can be made by thickening a regular formula with infant cereal. Before doing this, please reach out to your doctor for instructions on this.

  • If your baby has severe allergies or a condition requiring hypoallergenic formulas, such as Nutramigen or an amino-acid based formula, please discuss any changes with your doctor before switching.

  • Check with parent groups on social media for ideas on local stores that have formula in stock. You can also check with your pediatrician’s office as they may have samples for emergency situations.

  • Please do not water down formula, or change the mixing instructions. Babies, younger infants in particular, do not handle extra water in their systems well and it can cause dangerous health issues.

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends against making your own formula at home and buying from abroad, as these formulas are not under the same regulations as the FDA requires for infant safety.

  • If your child is older than 8 months old, they can have pasteurized whole cow’s milk. This would be a temporary hold-over, not an early transition off of formula in general. This would be safer than a dilute or homemade formula.

Female pediatric doctor headshot practicing in Peoria.

Amanda Stovall, MD