Navigating the Infant Formula Shortage
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Free Baby Formula Available for Delawareans
We all want what is best for our children, and of course that includes proper and safe nutrition for our babies and toddlers. We understand the toll the low supply of baby formula has taken on Delaware families, and we are here to help guide you with trusted and up-to-date information.
The good news is that the state of Delaware has partnered with Donate Delaware to purchase 40,000 canisters of infant formula. This shipment of FDA-approved Care A2+ canisters will increase the supply in our state and help ease the burden on Delaware families having trouble locating formula.
How can I get my free baby formula?
Please note that this is an opportunity to receive one free 28-ounce can of baby formula. The state of Delaware is partnering with the Food Bank of Delaware, Donate Delaware, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware to create convenient pickup locations. There are three ways to get your formula:
- Food Bank of Delaware distribution centers
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware
- Local Community Organizations
For details on formula pick-up locations and hours, what you need to bring in order to receive the formula, or any other questions you may have please visit the Infant Formula Distribution site.
The shortage of baby formula is a result of the ongoing supply-chain issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. But the recent recall of a major maker of baby formula, due to contamination concerns, has left many store shelves empty and parents scrambling to ensure they have what they need to properly feed their babies.
As we await baby formula availability to return to normal, there are still things you can do to ensure your infant’s or toddler’s nutrition needs are met.
- Call your health care provider. The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) encourages you to talk to your child’s pediatrician. If you are having trouble finding your preferred baby formula brand, your health care provider may have samples in stock, connections to other local organizations, or ideas of other places to call, such as your local WIC clinic. Call your pediatrician if you have questions about which formulas are safe for your baby.
- Providers can also submit an urgent request for specialized formula to Abbott, a primary formula manufacturer if they provide care for children in critical need of a particular specialty formula. Abbott is releasing some specialty and metabolic formulas on a case-by-case basis. Providers may call 1-800-881-0876 or visit their formula information and product request form.
- Switch formula brands. We know it’s tough to think about changing what has been working so well. But, if your child’s pediatrician says it’s OK, consider switching to another brand. ChristianaCare explains that most brands only have mild differences, and even if your baby has a sensitivity, there are many options available. The Delaware WIC program has created this chart to help parents and caregivers select the right formula for their child.
- Shop around and online. Check baby supply stores, smaller local stores, and even pharmacies. When shopping online, stick with well-known and reputable outlets, and do not purchase foreign products. They are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and may not be safe. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s website for formula availability before going to a store to purchase.
*The FDA has been meeting regularly with major infant formula manufacturers that have been working to maximize their production to meet new demands.
- If your baby is older than 6 months, start supplementing. Infants need formula or breast milk until age 1. If your child is older than 6 months, you can start to supplement their diet with some solids. Talk to your pediatrician about introducing solids like fortified cereal, mashed bananas, and pureed poultry and beans.
- Breastfeed if you can. If you are able, consider breastfeeding — or increasing breastfeeding if supplementing with formula. Breast milk still offers the safest nutrition for babies younger than age 1.
- Do not make homemade formula. Experts at Nemours Children’s Health stress that this is extremely dangerous and has even led to some infant deaths. For example, babies fed homemade infant formula have been hospitalized due to hypocalcemia (low
- Do not dilute formula. You will deny your baby of the nutrients they need, and it could lead to hospitalization.
- Do not give cow’s milk to babies younger than age 1. Nemours Children’s Health says cow’s milk and other types of milk (almond, rice, coconut, or oat) aren’t safe for babies younger than age 1, because those products don’t have the proper nutrients your baby needs for growth and development.
- Do not overstock on formula. Be kind. Please buy just two or three cans at a time to help manage the shortage. This will help other families have the formula they need too.
Soon, shipments will be made directly to pediatrician offices to help parents in dire need.
- Call the information line 2-1-1 Help Me Grow (HMG) with any questions and for updated information. You can also text 302-231-1464 or text your ZIP code to 898211.
- The Delaware WIC program offers breastfeeding assistance to new mothers, including peer counselors, lactation consultants, and manual pumps. You can contact them here:
New Castle County
West End: 302-605-6653
- Check with your local birth hospital for breastfeeding support services.
- WIC, SNAP, or TANF can help with the cost of buying formula or with finding other infant supplies through local food banks, including the Food Bank of Delaware.
- Note: The Food Bank of Delaware has an extremely limited supply of baby formula and is only taking referrals from the WIC office. The Food Bank of Delaware is not able to assist families who are not directly referred by WIC, which is done by making an appointment with a member of the Food Bank of Delaware’s WIC Outreach Team.
- Continue to visit our website and follow DE Thrives and DPH on Facebook and Instagram.
- We have created a quick reference guide based on FAQ’s provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Healthy Children website. You can read the full article here.
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has tips on how to safely feed your child if you are struggling to find infant formula:
- Nemours Children’s Health hosted a baby formula shortage webinar on Tuesday, May 24. Watch the recording here.
- Beebe Healthcare offers Latch at Lunch, a weekly virtual breastfeeding support group. They are also offering breast pump rentals. Free monthly breastfeeding classes (rotating in-person with virtual) are held on the first Thursday of every month at 5 pm. Private lactation consultations are available with a Board-Certified Lactation Consultant by appointment only. Call 302-645-3577 to register for the support group or breastfeeding class or to schedule a consultation.
- This flyer from ChristianaCare has more tips on infant feeding during shortages, including a QR code with additional info on substitute formulas.
- ChristianaCare also offers Parent Education and Breastfeeding Support.
- WIC has created this chart to help you find the right substitute formula if your regular formula is not available.
- This letter from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has federal recommendations.
- DPH has this flyer in English and Spanish that you can print and share.
- DPH has made this flyer available in English and Spanish, that you can print and share. Download the color version or download it in black and white.
- If you are looking to receive donor breast milk, or you are interested in donating extra breast milk, you can find a list of accredited milk banks here.
- Visit the U.S. Department of Health & Human Resources “Information for Families During the Formula Shortage” webpage, which has a comprehensive list of resources and guidance for families.
- This resource is from DHSS and gives information/tips on breastfeeding