SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The nationwide infant formula shortage is worsening, and as the supply dwindles, parents’ concerns are growing.
“When you have a child who’s doing well on a formula, you don’t want to have to switch,” said Dr. Ben Spitalnick of the Pediatric Associates of Savannah.
He says some parents are concerned about switching formulas.
“In general, switching between formulas is very safe. It’s never easy because whenever a baby switches formula, there’s going to be mild, temporary side effects,” said Spitalnick.
He says hesitancy to switch formulas has brought about some potentially dangerous misinformation.
“People, we hear, are watering down their formula to make it last longer and that’s a no-no,” Spitalnick explained. “Babies need the right concentration of formula…not only for the calories but to regulate their own electrolytes.”
To avoid running out, some parents are buying ahead, buying in bulk or buying up specialty formulas typically reserved for babies with health issues, all of which, Spitalnick says, could exacerbate the problem.
“Parents who haven’t even delivered their baby yet are asking should they be stocking up ahead of time, and if so, which kind,” he said. “We don’t recommend that. It’s taking formula away from babies that are here now and need it now.”
Between panic buying and switching to new formulas, many families who rely on WIC here in Georgia are unable to find the formulas covered by their vouchers.
“When we have our vouchers printed, they say the specific name of the formula they get, so there really isn’t another choice,” said WIC Nutritional Advisor Carrie Briscoe.
Right now, formula companies are actively working to remedy this shortage.
“We’re hopeful, we’re already hearing from the formula companies that productions ramping back up,” said Spitalnick.
In response to the shortage, companies like CVS, Target and Walgreens are limiting the amount of formula parents can purchase.