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Parents struggle to find baby formula as supply runs low

Retailer say they are working to keep up with demand.
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Posted at 9:07 AM, Feb 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-11 06:57:59-05

Parents are scrambling to find baby formula as stores struggle to keep it in stock.

Certain brands of baby formula are becoming harder to find in some parts of the country.

The powdered formula is the one that has become difficult to find.

Retail research firm IRI tells CBS News the shortage has worsened in the past three or four weeks.

In-stock rates for baby formula at some retailers have dipped as low as 75%.

Before the pandemic, the average in-stock rate for formula was 95%, IRI said.

The Infant Nutrition Council of America has acknowledged that there has been an increase in demand for formula, as well as limits on purchase in some areas.

The council encourages parents to keep a 10 to 14-day supply of infant formula and avoid unnecessary stockpiling so that there is formula available for other families.

Stores like Walgreens, Amazon, CVS and Target have said they are working with suppliers to keep up with demand.

One formula maker, Enfamil, has said that baby formula sales are up 18%, which is more than double what birth rates predicted.

Enfamil said it is ramping up production and shipping 50% more product.

The Infant Nutrition Council says, in emergency situations, food pantries, churches, shelters and hospitals may be able to provide small amounts of baby formula.

Parents can also reach out to Feeding America or dial 2-1-1 to find additional resources.

Kenzie Clifford, a dietitian at Riley Children's Hospital told WRTV in Indianapolis that parents can reach out to the formula manufacturers themselves, as they may be able to send out samples or even cases.

Parents may also want to consider switching to a different brand.

Experts suggest making the switch slowly.

“if your child is on an infant term formula, they can probably tolerate any standard term infant formula," Clifford said.

When making the switch, parents should watch out for a change in feeding patterns, increased spit-up, drastic changes in stool, and how much formula they are consuming.

If parents do notice any changes, they should reach out to their pediatrician.

Experts also warn to not feed children expired formula.