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Nationwide shortage of baby formula reaches Maine

Family doctors in Maine have said they are seeing the shortage of formula affect their patients.

PORTLAND, Maine — Two family doctors in Maine have shared tips for parents who are struggling to get baby formula. 

The nationwide problem comes after a large recall of Abbott Formula, affecting an already short supply, but it only recently has started to impact Mainers.

"I've seen moms in the store crying in the formula aisle because they can't find their baby's formula," Ashley Kolwicz, a mom of a 3-month-old from New York, told NBC reporters.

Kolwicz said she has been having a hard time finding formula for her son for a while now, and she's not alone. Moms across the country and here in Maine are dealing with the same problem. 

"It is a thing that has only just reached us recently," Cassandra Muldoon, a family doctor at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center, said.

"Our grocery stores, our pharmacies are now endorsing shortages, and I am seeing that in my patient panel," she added.

Experts said that while this can be a stressful time, don't panic or hoard the formula.

Patrick Connolly is a family doctor at Martin's Point Healthcare. He said it's OK for babies to use a different kind of formula for a short time.

"The vast majority of these kids are going to be OK by switching formula, especially in the short run," he said.

Connolly and Muldoon said there are some things parents definitely should not do.

  • Don't dilute the formula to try to make it last longer 
  • Don't move to whole cow's milk if your child is younger than 12 months 
  • Don't give them nut milk because it likely doesn't have enough calories 

"In the hospital we say breast is best," Muldoon said. "It's best because it's free, [and] it's best because oftentimes it meets the caloric needs that the baby has and has all of the components of what a baby might need."

While Maine doctors recommend breast milk as much as possible, they understand it isn't that simple for everyone.

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

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