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Baby formula shortage Children's Wisconsin

Tips for parents who are struggling to find baby formula

If you are the parent or caregiver of an infant, you have likely felt the effect of the baby formula recall and shortage. Parents are understandably worried and we want to help. 

On May 16, it was announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Abbott Laboratories, the maker of the recalled baby formula, had reached an agreement to restart production. That’s good news that will hopefully ease the shortages, but it’ll still likely be a number of weeks before shelves are full again. 

In the meantime, Children’s Wisconsin will continue to talk with state and federal agencies to learn more and see what our organization can do to help. As more information becomes available, we will post it on our website and social media channels. Here is what we know now and what you can do.

Contact your pediatrician

Contact your pediatrician if you are having problems finding baby formula. Your pediatrician knows your baby’s health needs best and may be able to help provide substitutions for you. Please note, your pediatrician may not have formula on hand to provide you. It’s important to use your pediatrician as a guide for safe alternatives based on what kind of formula your baby requires.


We know that some families are having difficulties getting what they need to feed their babies. If you are having trouble getting formula, dial 2-1-1 or chat with a community resources specialist online. This free, confidential helpline is available almost anywhere in the United States and can help you find local resources. 

Food pantries

Contact local food pantries. 211 can help facilitate that as well.


If you utilize the WIC program, contact your local WIC office for assistance.

Other formula concerns

Do not attempt to mix your own formula. It is dangerous to attempt to make your own formula. You could inadvertently contaminate what you mix and it is very difficult to get the right balance of critical nutrients. There are extremely concerning online recipes that could harm your baby, including injuring their liver and kidneys, or even cause an imbalance that could cause their heart to stop. 

No to extra water. Do not make formula with any extra water. While it may seem like a way to make the formula last longer, using too much water or diluting the formula can lead to brain swelling or even organ failure. 

Formula made outside the United States. Formulas made in other countries do not always meet production and storage requirements set in the United States, and may not contain all the nutrition your baby needs. The FDA is working on speeding up the process to approve formulas made in other countries that are brought into the US to make sure they are safe to feed your baby.

Other resources

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has resources and information on its website addressing this issue.

Beware of scams

The Better Business Bureau is warning parents in search of formula that scammers are preying on people in search of baby formula. A “seller” will create a post or comment in social media groups with photos of baby formula. The buyer contacts the seller via chat or direct message who asks the buyer to send money, oftentimes via Venmo or PayPal, but then the formula never arrives. The Better Business Bureau’s website offers tips on its website to help determine whether or not an online business is legitimate.