Ms. Weimer is nervously waiting for April 1, when she’ll be able to shop for the month’s supply of her son’s formula. Her job as a social media manager for a record store will last for only one more week, and her boyfriend Ethan, Arlo’s father, who also works at the store, has already been furloughed indefinitely because the store is anticipating having to close its doors soon. Her friends are looking for extra cans of Alimentum, and her parents have sent two cans from Montana.
If she cannot find the WIC-approved quantities near her home in Utah, she is afraid she will run out of the food her son needs by the end of the month.
“I am having dreams about finding four cans of the right size at any store here,” she said. “It’s all he can eat.”
Here’s what to do if you are low on supplies or want to help.
How to get formula
If you need formula and cannot find any online, in stores near you or at local diaper banks, reach out to your pediatrician.
“They tend to have samples that can tide you over, or may be able to contact the company directly to fill in that gap before you run out,” said Dr. Anthony Porto, M.D., a pediatric gastroenterologist and associate professor of pediatrics at Yale University. Dr. Dina M. DiMaggio, M.D., a clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at N.Y.U., also recommended going directly to the formula manufacturers’ websites, as they may get stocked sooner.
Dr. Porto and Dr. DiMaggio cautioned against diluting formula with extra water. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the proportions of powdered formula to water so that babies get the full benefits. If your baby is close to a year old, switching to cow’s milk slightly early is an option, said Dr. DiMaggio, but check with your pediatrician first, and make sure that your child is also eating iron-rich foods like spinach, eggs and beans to supplement.
“Some parents have already turned to cloth diapers to help them through the shortage, however, these diapers may not be easily accessible for all parents,” said Dr. Nia Heard-Garris, M.D., an attending physician at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.