How to deal with the formula shortage

We know that the shortage of baby formula is stressful.

July 27, 2022  

If this issue affects your family, the best thing to do is to talk with your child’s provider. Your provider can let you know how to feed your child safely.

Some adults who have swallowing or other medical problems may also be affected. They may have trouble finding the thickening agents they need.

What’s being done

Federal officials and formula makers are trying to ease the shortage. Local leaders also are looking for ways to help people get safe formula.

Your health plan

We’re making it easier for Tufts Health RITogether members to get pediatric enteral formula and thickening agents. In the past, members got these items through durable medical equipment (DME) providers. Now, members with a prescription can also get them through in-network pharmacies. And prior authorization is no longer needed when getting these supplies through DME providers.

If you need pediatric enteral formula or thickening agents for the first time, you can call member services 866-738-4116 to see if it’s covered.

WIC benefits

We also are using these temporary waivers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for those in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). These waivers make it easier for people with WIC to get formula during the shortage:

  • Maximum monthly allowance: Allows people to get different sizes—such as sizes that are bigger than usual—and different forms, like ready to feed
  • Medical documentation: Allows people to get a different brand without a provider's note
  • Vendor exchanges: Allows stores to exchange recalled formula purchased with WIC benefits

What you can do

Follow these dos and don’ts from health care experts.

  • Make sure any formula you have is not part of the nationwide recall. And check the date it expires. If your formula is not on the recall list and has not expired, it is okay to use.
  • Call your child’s provider if you have questions
  • Switch to another brand of formula if you can. Standard formula brands, like Similac and Enfamil, can be used in place of each other.
  • Call your provider if your baby uses special formula to see if there is another formula you can use
  • Call small stores, bodegas or pharmacies to see if they have formula in stock
  • Think about starting solid food to supplement formula if your baby is six months or older
  • Dilute formula
  • Make formula at home
  • Give toddler formula to infants
  • Give cow’s milk to children under the age of one
  • Buy formula from people or online sites you don’t know
  • Hoard formula

Information you can trust