WASHINGTON (AP) – Many parents are looking for a baby blend because of the combination of short-term and long-term issues that have struck most major U.S. brands.
Millions of babies in the U.S. are hoping for a mixture that is the only source of nutrition recommended for babies who are not breastfeeding.
Here’s a look at what the problem is and what parents can do:
Constant supply disruptions combined with the recent security recall have left shelves in pharmacies and supermarkets bare.
The problems began last year when the COVID-19 pandemic led to disruptions in labor, transportation and raw materials – problems across the economy that spared the formula industry. The inventory was further compressed by parents who had accumulated during the COVID-19 blockade.
Then in February, Abbott Nutrition recalled several major brands of the powder mixture and closed its factory in Sturgis, Michigan, when federal officials began investigating four infants who suffered bacterial infections after using the mixture from that facility.
Abbott is one of the few companies that produce the vast majority of American formulas, so their recall has destroyed a large market segment.
WHAT IS IN CHILDREN’S ACCOMMODATION?
Most formulas contain cow’s milk protein, which has been modified to be more easily digested and enriched with additional nutrients needed for growth and development. The Food and Drug Administration sets specific dietary requirements, including a minimum amount of protein, fat, calcium and a number of vitamins. Formula manufacturers reach these levels by adding a variety of sugars, oils and minerals.
Co-formulas are designed to mimic breast milk, although studies have repeatedly shown better health outcomes for breastfed babies.
WHY CAN’T ALL MOTHERS RELY ON BREAST MILK?
Healthcare professionals recommend breastfeeding only up to 6 months. But federal figures show that only one in four relies solely on breast milk at this age.
Mothers face a number of problems during prolonged breastfeeding, including returning to work and finding the time and equipment needed to express breast milk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 60% of mothers stop breastfeeding earlier than planned.
State and federal laws have been passed to encourage breastfeeding, requiring breaks and placement for mothers of infants.
Breastfeeding rates are consistently lower among black children than in other groups. According to the CDC, about three-quarters of black babies are breastfed in infancy, which is below the national average of 84%.
WHAT SHOULD THE PARENTS DO WHEN THEY ARE CLOSE TO LAW WITH LAW?
Talk to your pediatrician or call your local food bank to see if they can help find some options. Experts also recommend checking in small stores and pharmacies that may have stocks when larger stores run out.
Most regular baby formulas contain the same basic ingredients and nutrients, so parents should not hesitate to buy another brand if they have trouble finding a regular one.
Some babies need special mixtures due to allergies, digestive problems and other diseases. Parents should talk to their doctor if they cannot find the products that manufacturers usually distribute through pharmacies and clinics.
Families eligible for the WIC, a federal food stamp-like program that pays for about half of the formula used in the United States, can also apply to a local agency.
Health officials also warn against buying formulas through social networking websites or outside of regular retailers because they may be counterfeit.
WHY DO PARENTS BE TOLD NOT TO USE RECIPES OF THE FORMULA ITSELF ONLINE?
Many recipes for making mixes with your own hands are made from cow’s milk and granulated sugar, which can be difficult for young babies to digest. They also lack certain vitamins and proteins found in breast milk and FDA-approved formulas needed for basic nutrition.
“In particular, for young children, many of these formulations and formulations that can be found online do not contain even the most basic mixtures of nutrients that babies need to survive,” said Dr. Stephen Abrams, a pediatrician at the University of Texas at Austin.
Abrams also stressed that parents should never dilute infant formula.
WHAT DO RETAIL TAYLERS DO TO STORE FORMULA IN WAREHOUSES?
Several national networks have limited the number of containers that customers can purchase in stores and online. For CVS and Walgreens the limit is three per customer. Target limits purchases to four per person when shopping online.
Amazon said Thursday that it is working to make the products available on its website, and is monitoring third-party vendors for overpricing.
“If we determine a price that violates our policy, we remove the offer and take appropriate action with the seller,” a company spokesman said in a statement.
WHEN is supply likely to improve?
Health regulators recently announced several steps to increase supply, including allowing faster imports of formulas produced abroad. Typically, 98% of infant formula consumed in the United States is produced domestically, federal officials said.
The FDA is working with Abbott to eliminate the disruptions that led to the shutdown of a plant in Michigan that produces Similac, EleCare and several other leading powder formulas.
The company says its products were not directly linked to bacterial infections in children, noting that genetic samples collected from its factory did not match those found in several infants who fell ill.
The Chicago-based company said this week that pending FDA approval, it could resume production at its plant within two weeks. It will then take another six to eight weeks before new products appear on store shelves.
But even then, experts warn that many problems in the industry will continue to hold back supplies.
“It’s going to be a problem and it’s not going to go away for at least a few months,” Abrams said.
At the CVS Pharmacy on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, a sign posted at the CVS Pharmacy Parents in much of the U.S. are trying to find a baby formula after a combination of supply disruptions and safety recalls. put off the shelves of many leading brands.