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MADISON – Amidst a nationwide infant formula shortage, the Wisconsin Department of Health (DHS) gave updated options this week for parents and caregivers who are providing nutrition for their babies.

In February of 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalled Abbott’s powder formula. Parents and caregivers have continued to face challenges due to the pandemic and supply chain issues.

“We know that the infant formula shortage has been very stressful for parents, and we want Wisconsin families to know that they have options to access formula, including specialty formula, and breast milk. We also want to provide more tips for families during this national shortage,” DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake said in a news release.

National supply chain issues and a recall of some powdered formulas resulted in a shortage of infant formula across the country, including some retailers limiting the number of cans of formula sold to a customer per visit. As a result, prices for infant formula have also increased.

In addition, a major U.S. producer of infant formula – Abbot Laboratories – was forced to temporarily close its manufacturing plant in Michigan due to flooding. The plant reopened July 1 and has resumed production of its EleCare specialty formula.

Parents and caregivers should contact their health care provider to obtain supplies of EleCare or ask about the availability of other infant formulas. Abbott has also provided a toll-free phone number for additional information: 800-881-0876.

Ways to continue combatting the infant formula shortage

As the formula supply shortage continues, DHS recommends these tips for parents and caregivers:

  • Try a new brand of formula.
    • Most babies will do fine with different brands that are the same type they are currently being fed.
    • Talk to your doctor or pediatrician about short-term options.
    • Talk to your doctor or pediatrician about substitutes for hypoallergenic or specialty formulas.
  • Try a formula that is made in another country.
    • Some of these formula brands include Bubs, Kendamil, and Similac Pure Bliss.
    • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has allowed these formula companies to market certain products in the U.S.
    • Stores are expected to start carrying these options soon.
  • Consider human milk options.
  • People looking for donor human milk can visit the Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes website.
  • Anyone considering using human milk that is not from a certified milk bank should make sure the donor is a trusted family member or friend and that they’re tested to make sure they are free from transmissible disease. More guidance is available on the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine website.
  • Those who are currently breastfeeding might consider donating their excess milk to a local milk bank. The Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Great Lakes provides instructions for donating on its website.

More tips for feeding infants during this national formula shortage can be found on the DHS website. The U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) website also provides good information for parents and caregivers about the formula shortage. Families can also contact their local WIC (Women Infants Children) clinic with questions about the formula shortage, supplies of formula, and availability. WIC families can find additional information on the DHS WIC webpage.

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