ALABAMA (WHNT) – Running short on baby formula? The Alabama Department of Public Health said there are alternative options.

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Suggestions include checking other retailers across the state, specifically small stores, larger chain stores, grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, and others.

ADPH officials added that medical providers may have samples they can distribute, as well as local food banks. Other suggestions included trying a different brand (including generic, store brands), switching to a ready-to-feed product, or switching to a liquid concentrate if parents can’t find powdered formula.

As a note, the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) offices at local county health departments do not store routine infant formula, nor does ADPH.

ADPH and the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AL-AAP) strongly encourage breastfeeding where possible, but understand there are barriers to the practice for some parents.

AL-AAP President Dr. Katrina Skinner advised parents not to do the following:

  • Dilute the formula with extra water – this can lead to dehydration, weight loss, and seizures
  • Make homemade formula
  • Use cow’s milk
  • Give babies plant-based milk

Dr. Wes Stubblefield, ADPH Northern District Chief Medical Officer, also had a few warnings about alternative formula sources.

Families should use caution when purchasing formula from internet sellers outside of well-known distributors. Purchasing formula from overseas can be dangerous as these formulas are not regulated by the FDA.

Dr. Wes Stubblefield, ADPH

Stubblefield said while ADPH doesn’t have hard data on the extent of the shortage in Alabama, supply chain and labor shortages were already straining production. With a large recall of several major formula brands manufactured by Abbott Nutrition, production was strained further and shortages began.

Skinner said donor milk is safe so long as standard guidelines are followed; recommending donor milk banks, where milk is screened to make sure it’s okay for consumption. Skinner suggested parents follow up with their child’s doctor or healthcare provider to discuss safe alternatives.