RALEIGH — Amidst the nationwide infant formula shortage, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is connecting families with resources and sharing recommendations to help navigate supply issues safely. NCDHHS is also broadening access to formula for families who use the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.
The February recall of certain Abbott infant formulas increased the demand for other brands of formula, which has worsened the lingering effects of supply issues that arose during the pandemic nationwide.
For families struggling to find the formula they need, NCDHHS has several recommendations, as well as four important reminders for families:
- Do NOT water down your baby’s formula to stretch it out, it can be extremely dangerous to your baby to do so.
- Do NOT try to make homemade formula or give your baby toddler formula before their first birthday, these can also be dangerous to your baby.
- If you can’t find formula or can’t find your baby’s specific formula, work with your child’s health care provider to determine the best feeding plan.
- Only buy formula from reputable retailers, not from unknown individuals, online resellers or from overseas. How formula is stored and shipped can impact its safety for your baby.
NCDHHS is taking several actions with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other federal agencies and suppliers to help make it easier for families to access formula during this shortage, including:
- Through WIC, helping to connect families directly to needed formula and placing bulk orders with manufacturers on behalf of local WIC agencies and the families they serve.
- Using flexibility from the federal government to make it easier for WIC participants to access available formula. North Carolina is already using available USDA rule waivers to help retailers continue to serve WIC-enrolled families during the shortage and help families return or exchange formulas included in the recall.
- Working with the federal government to waive additional rules for the WIC program
- to make it easier for WIC participants to access available formula. North Carolina has requested waivers that would give WIC-enrolled families more flexibility to purchase other types of formula and in a wider variety of sizes based on availability and health care provider recommendations.
- Providing guidance to local WIC agencies and health care providers to make it easier for health care providers to give WIC-enrolled families several options of formula types and sizes on a single prescription to meet their children’s specialized formula needs.
- Closely monitoring the fluctuating formula supply across the state and keeping our partner organizations updated.
NCDHHS will continue to update information for families and partner organizations and share at https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/child-and-family-well-being/community-nutrition-services.