If you are a parent of a newborn, infant or baby that has not yet graduated to solid food, there are problems involved in finding the much necessary nutrition for this group of youngsters. News reports indicate there is a massive shortage of baby formula not only here in Massachusetts, but nationwide as supermarket shelves have been bare for the past few weeks. The question is: What can be done to solve this serious problem?

attachment-Baby Photo

**(Photo courtesy of Rainier Ridao on Unsplash)**

Statistics show that over 40% of baby formulas are out of stock nationwide as parents are pleading on social media platforms to try and find ways in feeding their children. The recent closure of a major production plant has also been a catalyst in adding more confusion to a growing problem at hand, but reports show it could take up to 2 months in replenishing supplies. Pediatricians are not optimistic this plan will work. Dr. Stephen Abrams chimed in on this matter:

"Realistically, I think we're looking at several more months. Even once that factory re-starts, I don't think the situation will get better super rapidly because the shortages have been developing for so long" 

How is our nation's capital responding to this crisis? President Biden has brought up the subject of invoking an immediate defense protection act that will increase supplies. There is also a plan to cut regulations to obtain more product on store shelves plus an ongoing investigation has been implemented regarding price gouging as calls have also been made to get more baby formula from overseas suppliers who are not experiencing a shortage across the pond.

What should parents do if they continue to face obstacles. A recent article in The New York Times have some options to assist. First of all, contact your health care provider as they can help you obtain samples of the needed formula. Healthy babies could also switch to any FDA approved product from a legitimate distributor or pharmacy.

DO NOT buy any formula on auction sites or from overseas as these products MUST be monitored and regulated by the Food & Drug Administration. Boston Children's Hospital Center for Nutrition Director, Chris Duggan also stressed this variable needs to be followed for the safety and well-being of all youngsters:

"If your child is healthy and has a normally functioning G.I. tract, they can usually be switched among the standard infant formulas pretty readily"

Seattle Children's Medical Director of Clinical Nutrition, Dr. Dale Lee also warned that specialized formulas for babies with medical conditions or allergies could face another major obstacle:

"Substitutions may be more complex. in particular, formulas with broken-down proteins or that are amino-acid based may be used in unique situations and need to be carefully substituted"

Questions have arisen by parents if their youngsters don't get enough formula in their daily diet. Dr. Lee also reiterated that breast milk or formula is the sole source of nutrition prior to the introduction of solid foods in their diet.

"Infants have unique nutritional needs because of rapid growth and appropriate intake of calories and nutrients directly translates into physical growth and neurological development"

It is also unadvisable to prepare home made formulas as this action could lead to massive health problems plus it is possible that donor's breast milk, but check with your insurance company to see if this option is covered so you don't pay out of pocket. Plus, swapping of the product is not recommended as babies could be exposed to bacterial infections or viruses that could also lead to health setbacks.

Bottom line: Parents must continue to research the necessary options to keep children safe and they should contact their pediatricians for more advice and suggestions in rectifying this problem at hand. This will rectify, but the question is WHEN? Inquiring minds would like to know.

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