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NYS announces resources for those affected by infant formula shortage

Baby, parents, formula
Baby, parents, formula(WILX)
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 3:22 PM EDT
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ALBANY, New York (WWNY) - If you’re struggling to feed your baby amid the infant formula shortage, the state has a list of resources for New York families.

Governor Kathy Hochul announced Thursday that the state Department of Health has increased communication with formula manufacturers to monitor the production of can sizes, supply, and shipments.

She said the state WIC Program has been able to help participants obtain the formulas needed through alternate stores with the formulas in stock and coordinate with manufacturers to get formula to participants when they cannot find it locally.

WIC participants are urged to contact their local agency for assistance locating products when needed.

Through Wanda, the health department’s chatbot, New Yorkers can receive direct, accessible online navigation support through a “personal WIC assistant” and see if their infant is eligible for WIC benefits.

In an effort to meet current demand, many stores are limiting the amount of formula customers can purchase at one time.

The state said it’s important that families don’t hoard formula, which will further impact the supply chain and other families in their community.

For families struggling to find the formula they need for their baby, the Department of Health recommends the following:

  • 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.

The state shares the FDA’s recommendation that families should not make formulas at home and encourages caregivers to work with their child’s health care provider for recommendations on changing feeding practices, if needed.

As New York families seek alternate sources for formula, the New York State Division of Consumer Protection has issued an alert reminding parents to be aware of online scams and unscrupulous vendors who may try to take advantage of the situation.

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