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What to do if you are facing an infant formula shortage

"Bottom line, you should not substitute formula without consulting with your infant's doctor."

PORTLAND, Maine — Editor's note: The video attached to this story was published May 10, 2022. 

The nationwide baby formula shortage has just recently reached Maine, leaving many families with infants scrambling to find solutions. 

Some of the ideas circulating on social media, however, have raised concern among medical professionals. 

In a story published Tuesday, two medical experts shared a few tips on what to do in the meantime, despite this being a stressful problem for many families. 

Patrick Connolly, a family doctor through Martin's Point Health Care, said it's OK for some babies to use a different formula for a short period of time. 

First and foremost, consult your pediatrician or family doctor to learn what's best for your family. 

  • Do not panic or hoard formula
  • Do not dilute the formula to try to make it last longer
  • Do not switch to cow's milk if your child is younger than 12 months
  • Do not use milk alternatives without consulting a medical professional

Cassandra Muldoon, a family doctor at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center, reiterated that while doctors recommend breastmilk, there's an understanding that this is not possible for all families. 

After the story was posted on social media, recipes and questionable alternatives to formula began circulating, which raised additional concerns among experts. 

"Bottom line, you should not substitute formula without consulting with your infant's doctor. Use your community resources and social media to help find sources of formula but not suggested substitutions," Connolly said Wednesday in an email.   

"This is expected to be a temporary shortage," he continued. "Take what you need and share with others what you don't."

The Food and Drug Administration shared Tuesday that it is working on a plan to increase the availability of infant and specialty formula products. 

"We are doing everything in our power to ensure there is adequate product available where and when they need it," FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf said in the news release. "Ensuring the availability of safe, sole-sourced nutrition products like infant formula is of the utmost importance to the FDA." 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story inaccurately identified WIC as a resource for formula.

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