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2 Your Well-Being: Navigating the baby formula shortage

Parents are scrambling as they try to find the right formula brand. Cone Health offers advice to parents, trying to keep their babies fed, happy and healthy.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The baby formula shortage continues, putting pressure on parents trying to find the formula their baby needs. 

Abbott started manufacturing formula once again at its plant, which was shut down after a recall earlier this year. 

Experts say it will still take months for that additional supply to make it to store shelves. 

So is safe to switch brands? Dr. Angela Hartsell with Cone Health Pediatric Teaching Service, says yes. 

"It is safe to switch brands. Sometimes I tell patients it's the difference between Coke and Pepsi, so if you have a formula that is of equal categories but made by different manufacturers, or even store brand formulas of the same category, they are absolutely safe to use interchangeably," said Dr. Hartsell. 

The only things parents need to be cautious about when switching is if their baby has a special care need or severe food allergy. 

Some things to avoid include stretching supply or trying to make formula at home, options that Dr. Hartsell says could put a baby at risk. 

"Formula is created in a specific ration, proteins and nutrients that are balanced for a baby...it can be life-threatening if their formula is diluted for a long period of time," said Dr. Hartsell. 

There are other options on the table to safely feed your infant until the supply chain is fixed. You can find the list of do's and don'ts below. 

Do's:

  • Switching brands within same type of formula is safe 
  • Babies over 6 months can safely eat table food or solids 
  • You can substitute liquid formula with powder
  • Breastfeed or pump if you can

Don'ts: 

  • Do not dilute formula to stretch the supply by adding water 
  • Do not make homemade formula

For more resources, click here to visit Cone Health's website.

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