700 Children's® – A Blog by Pediatric Experts

Formula Shortage: What Parents Can Do

May 17, 2022
Blog formula substitution

The infant formula shortage that is currently impacting the United States has reached an unprecedented level. It has left families wondering what they should feed their children if they cannot find their usual formula.

Many alternative formula options are available. It is crucial that parents give an appropriate source of nutrition to their babies for normal growth and development; however, there are things that could cause harm to babies and should be avoided. Below are the Dos and Don’ts for feeding babies to ensure they are receiving the best nutrition within the first year of life.


  • DO look for alternative FDA-approved formulas that may be like your child’s preferred formula:

premature formulastandard formula

specialized formulasensitive formula

    hypoallergenic formula

  • For healthy, term babies, DO consider using a soy-based infant formula temporarily, as it is easier to find.
  • DO consider store-brand or non-name brand formulas.
  • DO check food banks, pharmacies, and non-chain grocery stores.
  • DO ask friends and family to help you search in different stores and areas.
  • DO join online community pages to help find local stock.
  • DO contact your healthcare provider or dietitian for samples or alternatives.
  • DO contact your WIC office for formula options and/or prescription changes.
  • DO check online sources.
  • DO work to increase human milk supply if possible, by pumping or breastfeeding more frequently.
  • DO consider contacting a donor human milk bank.
  • DO call formula companies directly
  • If your child is nearing 1 year of age, DO talk to your healthcare provider or dietitian about transitioning to toddler formula or cow’s milk.


  • DON’T dilute formula with more water or cow’s milk.
  • DON’T add cereal or other baby food to formula.
  • DON’T use a homemade recipe to make your own formula.
  • DON’T give your infant cow’s milk, goat’s milk, or plant-based milks as a formula substitution.
  • DON’T use a toddler formula for babies under 6 months of age.
  • DON’T get formula or human milk from non-reliable sources.
  • DON’T accept cans that are dented, damaged, or expired.

If you still have questions or concerns on what to feed your baby, talk to your health care provider or dietitian for further support and guidance.

For more information on the interdisciplinary Clinical Nutrition and Lactation team at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, please call (614) 722-3060 or visit the website.

Featured Expert

Nationwide Children's Hospital Medical Professional
Rebecca M. Romero, RD, LD, CLC
Clinical Nutrition and Lactation

Rebecca M. Romero, RD, LD, CLC, is a registered and licensed dietitian, as well as a clinical leader for the Department of Clinical Nutrition and Lactation. Rebecca also maintains her certification as a lactation counselor. She specializes in the area of Neonatology, with a special interest in the Small Baby Program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Michelle Ross
Michelle Ross, MHA, RD, LD, ALC
Clinical Nutrition and Lactation

Michelle E. Ross, MHA, RD, LD, ALC is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian and Advanced Lactation Consultant at Nationwide Children's Hospital. She is the Program Manager for Clinical Nutrition and Lactation. Her focus is in department operations, budget and leadership of Dietitians, Lactation Consultants, Dietetic Technicians, Breastfeeding Peer Advisors and networking with the multidisciplinary team in current nutrition and lactation practices to promote Best Outcomes.

Caitlin Sare
Caitlin Bauer, RD, LD
Clinical Nutrition and Lactation

Caitlin R. Bauer, RD, LD is a registered and licensed dietitian, as well as a clinical leader for the Department of Clinical Nutrition and Lactation. She graduated in 2015 from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics and completed her 1200 hours of supervised practice at The Ohio State University in 2016. Caitlin specializes in the area of Cardiology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

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Pediatric News You Can Use From America’s Largest Pediatric Hospital and Research Center

700 Children’s® features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.