McKee, Department of Health provide guidelines for families affected by baby formula shortage

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Baby formula shortage. (The Associated Press)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Gov. Dan McKee and the Rhode Island Department of Health are outlining guidelines for families affected by the nationwide baby formula shortage.

“We must make sure Rhode Island families have access to safe formula — that is why we are coordinating with the federal government to monitor the situation at the national and local level and do more to help families impacted by this shortage,” the governor said.

The state provided the following guidelines:

  • Anyone questions or concerns about whether their child’s nutritional needs are being met or about what formula they can give their infant, should call their child’s pediatrician or RIDOH’s Health Information Line: 401-222-5960.
  • Anyone who cannot get the formula that they usually use should switch to another brand of formula that is available. Standard formula brand like Similac and Enfamil (soy or milk-based) are interchangeable. If your baby uses a specialized formula, check with your baby’s doctor to see if there is another formula you can use.
  • Check smaller stores, bodegas, or pharmacies to see if they have formula in stock. Call ahead of time to check if the store has the correct formula.
  • The current formula shortage is being worsened by a large national recall of baby formula. Check the lot number on any formula you already have. Check the online list of lot numbers that have been recalled. If the lot number is not included in the recall and the formula is not expired, it is okay to use.
  • Women who are pregnant should consider breastfeeding. To learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding, visit RIDOH’s website. For breastfeeding and lactation resources, contact RIDOH at 401-222-5960.
  • Anyone with a child six months or older should consider starting solid food to supplement formula.

Residents should avoid the following:

  • Do not dilute formula or use extra water to make the powdered formula last longer. Follow the formula manufacturer’s preparation and storage directions.
  • Do not buy formula from strangers on social media sites, online auctions, or overseas. Be careful to avoid scams. Order formula only from reputable and trustworthy sites.
  • Do not make homemade formula or give toddler formula to infants.
  • Do not give cow’s milk to children younger than age one. It is not safe to do that.
  • Do not hoard formula. When there is a limited supply, we need to make sure there is enough for everyone. Some stores are limiting the amount of formula you can buy at one time.

For regularly updated information about the formula recall and for information specific to WIC clients, visit Department of Health’s website or call at 401-222-5960.

Categories: News, Regional News, Rhode Island