The Real Deal: Tips to help parents get through the baby formula crisis

Shortages of baby formula are causing parents to panic.
News 12's consumer reporter Janice Lieberman has some tips to get through the crisis.

GENERIC

Doctors say generic brands could be a good option.

COW MILK

If your baby is almost on cow milk, ask your doctor if you can switch.

ONLINE RETAILERS AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Try online retailers, but the wait is long and the amount is restricted. Social media is allowing parents to request and share with each other.

FOOD BANKS

Check local food banks where cans are being handed out to those in need.

WHAT SHOULD YOU NOT DO?

Pediatricians warn against:
Thinning out the formula with water
Using products from other countries
Do not attempt to make your own
Do not substitute cow's milk without asking the doctor first, as it does not contain enough iron
Do not use nut milk as it doesn't have the right nutrients

NEW YORK HEALTH DEPARTMENT RECOMMENDATIONS:

Call your OBGYN or the infant's medical provider to see if they have in office samples or can suggest a similar formula that may be more readily available in stores that is nutritionally similar to meet the infant's needs.
Switch to another brand or type that's available, if recommended by the infant's medical provider.
Contact a local New York State Women, Infants and Children Office or prescreen with Wanda, the Department's chatbot, to see if the infant is eligible for WIC benefits.
Families with WIC should check the New York State Women, Infants and Children vendor site to find a list of WIC approved vendors who may have formula in stock.
Visit smaller stores and drugstores that carry formula. You may want to call first to see if they have formula in stock.
Look online for options available but be sure to only order from well-recognized distributors and pharmacies. Don't buy formula online from people you don't know on social media sites, online auctions, or overseas.
Check the lot code on the formula that you already have to make sure it wasn't recalled. Don't throw away formula that wasn't part of the recall, unless it is expired.
Be sure to follow the formula manufacturer's preparation and storage instructions.
Don't use toddler formula to feed infants.
Don't water down formula or try to make infant formula at home.
Expectant individuals are encouraged to consult with a provider about breastfeeding their infant. The New York State WIC program also provides breastfeeding support and resources to new families. Families feeding a baby with human milk from a source other than the baby's mother should only use milk from a source that has screened its milk donors and taken other precautions to ensure the safety of its milk.