An infant formula shortage is currently impacting all states. Efforts to mitigate the effects of the shortage are occurring at the federal, state, and local level. The purpose of this site is to provide the latest information about the shortage and connect Sacramento families in need of formula to helpful resources. Please consult your pediatrician before changing feeding habits of your infant.
How to find infant formula
Families can do the following to find infant formula that is safe for their baby:
- Contact a pediatrician or health care provider to see if the provider can help. They may have in-office samples or suggestions for a similar formula that may be more available and is nutritionally like their infant's usual formula.
- Consult manufacturer hotlines and community resources for help in finding formula.
- Call stores before shopping ask grocers what days they expect formula shipments. It may be necessary to make more shopping trips or shop at more than one location to get all their formula.
For more resources in finding formula or increasing breastmilk supply, parents and caregivers can visit the following websites:
Resource for signs of infant dehydration: Dehydration in Children: Signs, Treatments (clevelandclinic.org) please also consult your pediatrician.
Infant Formula Safety
The FDA and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warn against using recipes to make homemade infant formula. Using homemade infant formula can lead to serious health problems for babies. A baby's nutritional needs are very specific, especially in the first year of life. Homemade infant formulas may contain too little or too much of certain components, such as vitamins and minerals like iron. Homemade infant formula may also be more easily contaminated, which could lead to babies getting sick or developing an infection.
Families should stick with products that meet federal standards. These products ensure formula is safe and free of harmful bacteria and meet an infant's nutritional needs.
Families should contact a pediatrician or health care provider with any concerns about medically appropriate, safe feeding alternatives.
What is the earliest age I can start giving my baby solid food to stretch my formula supply?
Solid foods should not be used to stretch baby formula supply. Formula contains all of the nutrients young babies need, while solid foods may not. Infants generally are ready to eat solid food when they are about 6 months old, but it depends on their stage of development. Talk with your pediatrician about when your baby may be ready for solid foods.
Can I add extra water to formula and give my baby a multivitamin to make up the nutrients?
This should never be done. Adding extra water to formula can dilute the levels of protein and minerals, and lead to low sodium levels in the blood and other electrolyte disorders that may cause your baby to be hospitalized. Always follow label instructions or those given to you by your pediatrician.
I have a 3-month-old infant and can't find my usual baby formula. What should I do?
This is a very difficult problem. If you can find another similar formula, it's OK to make the switch. If you use a special formula for allergies or other special health needs, the North American Society For Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition provides a list of comparable formulas here.
Formula Shortage - California Women, Infants & Children Program
How to keep up your milk supply or make more milk
The more often you breastfeed, the more milk you will make.
- Breastfeed every time your baby is hungry. In the early weeks, your baby will eat at least 8-12 times every 24 hours. Do not put your baby on a strict feeding schedule. Follow your baby's cues, and let your baby tell you when it's time to eat.
- Make sure your baby is latching well. You can follow the tips here to help you get a good latch — and know if you have one.
- Offer both breasts at each feeding. Let your baby finish the first side, then offer the other side.
- Empty both breasts at each feeding. To make more milk, hand express or pump after a feeding to draw out all the milk and signal your body to make more.
- Avoid bottles and pacifiers in the early weeks. Feed your baby from your breast whenever you can.
- Pump or express your milk.
- To make more milk: Pumping or expressing milk frequently between nursing sessions, and consistently when you are away from your baby, can help build your milk supply. Be sure to pump your milk if you are at work or school or away from your baby as often as you would breastfeed your baby at home.
- To keep your milk supply: Be sure to pump your milk if you are at work or school or away from your baby as often as you would breastfeed your baby at home.
- Take good care of your breast pump. Read the pump instructions or watch a video so you know when to replace the valve or if you need to use a larger breast flange. Both things can affect your milk supply.
- Store your breastmilk safely. Follow recommended guidelines to safely store your expressed milk. CDC: Recommended storage and preparation techniques .
- Relax and massage. Relax, hold your baby skin-to-skin, and massage your breasts before feeding to encourage your milk to let down.
- Take care of yourself. Get plenty of rest, eat well, drink enough fluids, and let others help you.