Infant formula shortage resources

May 25, 2022 | News & Announcements, Partners & Providers

This message was provided to health care providers by the American Academy of Pediatrics Orange County Chapter and the Orange County Health Care Agency.

Haga clic aquí para la versión en español.

Click here to download this list in English.

A nationwide shortage of infant formula has been ongoing for several months. The shortage was initially due to COVID-19 pandemic related supply chain issues which were then compounded with a voluntary recall of some Abbott Nutrition products and ceasing of production in the Sturgis, Michigan plant due to possible association with some serious bacterial infections in infants. While a number of measures are being taken at the federal level and through CDPH/WIC to increase access to formula, intermittent and sporadic shortages have been reported. Concerns about finding sufficient formula have led to reports of unsafe practice, such as diluting formula or using homemade formula.

Health Care Providers Should Support Parents and Caregivers of Infants By:

  • Affirming parents’ concerns.
  • Reinforcing the messages for families and providing the resources on the next page, including printed copies of the page or handouts as needed.
  • Encouraging and supporting breastfeeding, including helping to arrange for breast pumps and facilitating lactation support, if needed.
  • Assisting families with selecting alternative formulas and requesting specialty (therapeutic) formulas from the formula manufacturer.
  • Evaluating mental health needs and making referrals for support as appropriate.
  • Reporting any suspected or confirmed adverse clinical outcomes (such as hospital admission) that may be a result of inadequate infant nutrition due to the formula shortage to Orange County Health Care Agency at 714-834-8180 or

Resources for Health Care Providers:

Guidance for Orange County Families with Infants during the Infant Formula Shortage

Pregnant/Post-Partum Women, Breastfeeding or Considering Breastfeeding:

Preparing Formula Safely:

  • Infants need a specific balance of nutrients for their growth. Infant formula is strictly regulated by the FDA to not only be as close as possible to human milk, but also safe and free of harmful bacteria.
  • Follow the mixing instructions on the label for the formula; do NOT overdilute the formula to stretch the quantity out.
  • Avoid making or feeding homemade formula.
  • Avoid feeding infants under one year of age cow milk (or other animal milk besides human milk) or other milk substitutes (such as almond or soy beverages).
  • Avoid feeding infants toddler formula.
  • Avoid using imported formulas from other countries that have not been reviewed by the FDA.

Finding Formula:

  • Call the vendor (store) ahead of time to see if they have the formula in stock.
  • Try another store if the one you usually frequent is out of your formula.

WIC clients:

  • Redeem your WIC benefits as soon as they are redeemable.
  • Note that more trips to the store may be required as there may be a limit on how many cans of formula may be purchased at one time.
  • Contact your issuing WIC agency if you are unable to locate formula after trying several stores in your area.

Non-WIC clients:

  • Contact the Health Referral Line at 1-800-564-8448 if you are unable to locate formula after trying several stores in your area.
  • Ask a health care provider for guidance on alternative formulas you can use. Babies usually tolerate alternative products except in the case of special therapeutic formula. For babies on therapeutic formula, your health care provider may be able to request limited amounts of formula directly from the manufacturer if there is an urgent health need.


Sign Up for Emails

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: First 5 Orange County. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact