SouthCoast Pediatrician Offers Advice About Baby Formula Shortage
We got a chance to speak with Dr. John Leimert this morning on Michael and Maddie.
Dr. Leimert is a pediatrician at SouthCoast's new Rosebrook facility in Wareham, and we wanted to get his advice about the widening baby formula shortage.
CBS News has reported that a whopping 30 states in America are seeing between 40% and 60% of stores sell out of baby formula. Needless to say, if you are a parent of an infant, this is the No. 1 concern in your life right now.
"We've been getting lots of calls about it," said Dr. Leimert. "Not only where to find formula, but what to do if you can't find your particular formula and some scary questions coming into us about people thinking about trying to do some things on their own."
What Parents Should Not Do
Understandably, parents of infants are stressing about what to do. Here is what Dr. Leimert advised not to do:
1. Don't go to a hospital emergency room looking for formula. They don't have it.
2. Don't try to water down the formula. That takes away a lot of the nutritional value and endangers small babies. Infants can become toxic with too much water.
3. Don't attempt to make your own formula. "That, too, is dangerous," says Dr. Leimert, "because people don't use correct water formula powder combinations. These homemade formulas can lack in a lot of nutritional values, not something that we would recommend at all. Plant-based milks like almond milk are really not suitable alternatives either.
4. Don't buy formula from overseas. None of those formulas brought in from overseas are FDA-regulated, so there's concern that there could be a danger.
What Parents Should Do
1. Try checking small stores on the SouthCoast. Smaller pharmacies may have some more formulas than the big stores.
2. Buy formula online
3. Some off-brand formulas could work (check with your pediatrician).
4. A substitute for toddler formulas could be cow's milk. This could work for babies 6 months and older. "It's not the greatest, but if you take whole milk, up to about 24 ounces a day, you can do that for the few days (to even a few weeks) until we get a hold of this formula shortage. The only concern will be iron intake."
5. Breastfeeding. Try to maximize your breastfeeding the best you can, the doctor suggested.
6. Dr. Leimert also suggested that it is OK for healthy babies who are not having complications to bounce between different types of formulas. He did suggest running it by your pediatrician first, but added that all of the formulas are tightly regulated by the FDA.
Dr. Leimert said he expects the United States to stockpile infant formula in the future to prevent a similar issue from happening again.
"I know there's probably a temptation if you walk into a store and see something to gobble it up, but be considerate to the next person who is just coming into that store to just buy 10 days to two weeks worth of formula," he said. "Let's just take it two weeks at a time and go from there."