Doctors warn of altering baby formula as families struggle to find supply

"If I don't stay on top of looking for it, we could be out next week and I don't know what I'm going to do," one mom said.
COATESVILLE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The nationwide baby formula shortage is leaving many families in the Delaware Valley stressed and unsure how they will feed their infants.

At least there was some good news on Monday: Infant formula maker Abbott says it's reached an agreement with U.S. health officials to restart production at its largest domestic factory, a key step toward easing a nationwide shortage.

"This is all she can have, and as you can see, she likes to eat," said Samantha Schneider from Coatesville. Her nine-week-old daughter, Amelia, is on Similac Pro-Total Comfort.

But Schneider is running out.

"I have one can left. I call every day, every two hours, to see if it's in stock. I check all the websites," she said.

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All she has found are empty shelves and she's not alone. One viewer sent a photo of a Target in Bridesburg which had only one can of formula left Monday. Another viewer snapped a picture of a store Neshaminy which was limiting supply to four cans per shopper.

The shortage traces back to Abbott's recall earlier this year.

In February, the company halted production and recalled several brands of powdered formula, squeezing supplies that had already been tightened by supply chain disruptions and stockpiling during COVID-19.

As families look for answers, the delivery service Gopuff is reporting a six-fold increase in baby formula sales over the past week.

Doctors are also warning parents about dangerous practices like diluting baby formula or trying to make your own.

"Any attempt to make your own formula will not meet your baby's needs and it's something that can really make your baby sick," said Dr. David Paul, the chair of the department of pediatrics at ChristianaCare.

He also says to be wary of what you buy online and make sure its FDA approved.

"It's also important to know that in many cases, there are substitutes for formula, meaning your baby can switch to a different type of formula, a different brand or different type," he said.

"If I don't stay on top of looking for it, we could be out next week and I don't know what I'm going to do," said Schneider.

She says the only other formula option for Amelia is also out of stock.

"We'll figure it out. We have to," she told her daughter.

Doctors say before you make any decision about switching your child's formula, talk to your pediatrician.
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