Baby Formula Resource Guide

As federal officials work to resolve the current national baby formula shortage, The Rhode Island Department of Health is providing guidance and resources to families being affected.

“There are some precautions that families being impacted by the formula shortage should take to help keep their infants healthy and safe,” said Interim Director of Health James McDonald, MD, MPH. “Any parent who has questions or concerns should call their pediatrician. RIDOH also has staff ready to provide resources, guidance, and support.”

DOs

  • If you have questions or concerns about whether your child’s nutritional needs are being met or about what formula you can give your infant, call your child’s pediatrician or RIDOH’s Health Information Line: 401-222-5960.
  • If the kind of formula you usually use is not available, switch to another brand of formula that is available. Standard formula brand like Similac and Enfamil (soy or milk-based) are interchangeable. If your baby uses a specialized formula, check with your baby’s doctor to see if there is another formula you can use.
  • Check smaller stores, bodegas, or pharmacies to see if they have formula in stock. Call ahead of time to check if they have the formula you need.
  • The current formula shortage is being worsened by a large national recall of baby formula. Check the lot number on any formula you already have. Check the online list of lot numbers that have been recalled. If the lot number is not included in the recall and the formula is not expired, it is okay to use.
  • Women who are pregnant should consider breastfeeding. To learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding, visit RIDOH’s website. For breastfeeding and lactation resources, contact RIDOH at 401-222-5960.
  • If your baby is six months or older, consider starting solid food to supplement formula.

DON’Ts

  • Do not dilute formula or use extra water to make the powdered formula last longer. Follow the formula manufacturer’s preparation and storage directions.
  • Do not buy formula from people you don’t know on social media sites, online auctions, or overseas. You need to be careful to avoid scams. Order formula only from reputable and trustworthy sites.
  • Do not make homemade formula or give toddler formula to infants.
  • Do not give cow’s milk to children younger than age one. It is not safe to do that.
  • Do not hoard formula. When there is a limited supply, we need to make sure there is enough for everyone. Some stores are limiting the amount of formula you can buy at one time.

Formula manufacturers and the Federal government are working to increase the formula supply nationwide.

The Department of Health will continue to closely monitor formula availability. For regularly updated information about the formula recall and for information specific to WIC clients, visit RIDOH’s website or call RIDOH at 401-222-5960.

If you are a WIC participant and have questions about WIC benefits and accessing the formula your baby usually gets, call the Department of Health at 401-222-5960.

You can learn more about the recall here.

Manufacturer Hotlines

  • Gerber’s MyGerber Baby Expert : reach a certified nutrition or lactation consultant by phone, text, Facebook Messenger, web chat, or video call, who can help you identify a similar formula that may be more readily available
  • Abbott’s Consumer Hotline: call 1-800-986-8540
  • Abbott’s urgent product request line : ask your OBGYN or your infant’s pediatrician to submit an urgent product request by downloading and completing the form – PDF 
  • Reckitt’s Customer Service line: call 1-800 BABY-123 (222-9123)

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