Women and Infant Care

Resources for parents and caregivers during the infant formula shortage

couple bottle feeding their baby

Amid the nationwide infant formula shortage, Riverside Health System is committed to connecting families with resources and sharing recommendations to help navigate the formula shortage. 

For families struggling to find infant formula, Riverside has several recommendations for resources that may be able to connect families to infant formula supplies. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics provided a detailed resource for parents and caregivers: Infant Formula Shortage: Tips on what to do when you can’t find formula at the store. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. What should I do if I cannot find any formula? 
If you cannot find infant formula or cannot find your baby’s specific formula, work directly with your baby's health care provider to determine the best feeding plan.

2. Is homemade baby formula safe? 
Infants require a specific balance of nutrients to grown and be healthy. Although homemade formulas are available and may seem like a viable solution, they are not recommended. Infant formula is made with predigested proteins, minerals, fats, electrolytes and more and are highly regulated for proportions and safety. Since homemade formulas are not regulated, ingestion by an infant could lead to infection, allergic reactions, and more. 

3. Should I try to dilute the formula I have to make it last longer?
Do not dilute infant formula. Diluting formula is dangerous, and you can impact the essential nutrition that the baby needs to continue to grow and develop. 

4. What alternatives are safe? 
Consider switching formula brands if your baby uses regular formula. Talk with your baby’s health care provider before switching to an alternative. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued guidance in that in urgent situations only, babies older than 6 months of age may have cow’s milk if there are no other options. You should not give your baby goat milk or plant-based milks. 

If your baby is medically fragile, contact their health care provider for safe alternatives that may be prescribed.

5. What is a breast milk bank and how do I access it?
Mothers who are breastfeeding their own babies may donate their excess supply for babies who need it to a milk bank. Milk donors are extensively screened to ensure they meet health requirements, and the milk is safe.


Community Resources

  • Contact your baby’s health care provider for potential resources. 
  • United Way’s 2-1-1: dial 2–1-1 to connect with a community resource specialist who may be able to help identify food pantries and charitable sources for infant formula.
  • Contact your local food bank.
  • Find an accredited human milk bank
  • Check smaller stores and locally owned pharmacies for supplies if bigger retailers are sold out.
  • Check social media. There are groups online connecting those who have formula and no longer need it with those who are in need. 
  • If you have WIC, please contact your local WIC office to identify sources for infant formula. You can also view more information from WIC here.