RALEIGH, N.C. (WAVY) — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) provided safe options for standard formulas and up-to-date guidance for residents affected by the ongoing infant formula crisis.

On Sunday, NC state health officials provided a graphic of available options for families affected by the February recall of certain Abbott infant formulas which resulted in increased demand for other brands of formula.

Officials say their top priority help families access safe, healthy feeding options for their infants.

The division’s Community Nutrition Services section is currently working to help reduce food insecurity for North Carolina’s families and children. The section includes the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).  

For more information and guidance from NCDHHS, CLICK HERE.

Below is a list of actions families can do amid the crisis:

  • If a family is not able to find formula for their child, they should work with the child’s health care provider to determine the best feeding plan. For cow’s milk-based formula, a comparable other brand, including generic or store brand, smaller manufacturer, or organic options are generally fine.
  • Families can turn to community organizations, reputable online retailers, distributors, and manufacturers as sources for finding formula. Contact United Way’s 2-1-1 or dial 2-1-1 to be connected to a community resource specialist affiliated with United Way who may be able to help you identify food pantries and other charitable sources of local infant formula and baby food.
  • Certain milk banks accredited by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America are distributing donated breast milk to mothers in need; please note that some may require a prescription from a medical professional. Find an HMBANA-accredited milk bank near you.
  • Families can contact manufacturers for help in finding formula:
    • MyGerber Baby Expert
    • Abbott’s Customer Service: 1-877-4Abbott or 1-800-986-8540 (recall specific information)
    • Abbott’s product request line and form for metabolic formulas
    • Reckitt’s (Mead Johnson) Customer Service line: call 1-800 BABY-123 (222-9123)
  • Families using a combination feeding of breast milk and iron-fortified infant formula may wish to consider increasing the frequency of breastfeeding or pumping so that they do not need as much formula. Families can reach out to a local lactation specialist to try and help increase their supply of breastmilk.
  • Women who are pregnant are encouraged to consult with a health care provider about breastfeeding their infant. Families feeding a baby with donor breast milk should only use milk from a source that has screened its milk donors and taken other precautions to ensure the safety of its milk, such as those accredited by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America.
  • If you see a formula price that seems too high, report it to the North Carolina Department of Justice by filing a complaint at https://ncdoj.gov/gouging or by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.
  • Families needing help with formula costs who have not applied for assistance are encouraged to learn more about WIC at https://www.nutritionnc.com/wic/ or apply for FNS (formerly known as food stamps) at https://epass.nc.gov.

What you should NOT do:

  • Do NOT make homemade infant formula. Homemade formula recipes can be very dangerous for babies since they have not been evaluated by the FDA and may lack nutrients vital to an infant’s growth.
  • Do NOT water down formula to stretch it out; it can be extremely dangerous to your baby to do so. Always follow formula label instructions or those given to you by your health care provider.
  • Toddler formula and plant-based milk alternatives are not recommended before a child’s first birthday.
  • Do NOT buy formula from online auctions, unknown individuals, or unknown origins. Storage and shipping conditions may impact formula safety. Formula from outside the United States is not regulated by the FDA, though the FDA is now exploring safe options for importing formula from other countries.