Saud Anwar

State Senator

Saud Anwar

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working For You

May 18, 2022

Public Health and Children’s Committees Host Informational Discussion in Response to Baby Formula Shortage

Today, state Senator Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor), Chair of the Children’s Committee and Acting Chair of the Public Health Committee, held an informational forum to respond to the national baby formula crisis in Connecticut. This baby formula shortage has caused stocks in some states to fall by up to 40% and has left parents of young children stressed and struggling to find the products they need. Senator Anwar was joined by state Representatives Jonathan Steinberg and Liz Linehan, along with pediatricians to discuss the ongoing issue of formula shortage and what parents can do.

The shortage has risen in recent months as the result of a significant recall of formula sold by Abbott Nutrition after reports of bacterial infections tied to batches of formula. Three popular brands of formula, comprising a significant amount of formula produced in the United States, were recalled as the company has worked to ensure quality control in the affected production plants. While Abbott reports the plant could be up and running within two weeks, formula may not reach store shelves for another six to eight weeks – extremely troubling as some states are seeing increased shortages and limited supply of the product, with up to 40% of baby formula out of stock nationwide.

“When a child is hungry, and cries from hunger, it is one of the most anxiety provoking feelings for a parent,” said Sen. Anwar. “The last few weeks have had thousands of parents in our State experience anxiety and panic. This has been even more painful for those with vulnerable children requiring special formulas. The Children’s Committee and Public Health Committee joined Pediatricians in our state, along with members of our federal delegation, Public health officials, Office of the Attorney General to look at a comprehensive way to manage this crisis and protect our children and families.”

“The formula shortage is a national problem, but it’s constructive to discuss the impact in our state,” said Rep. Jonathan Steinberg. “How will we deal with future supply chain issues of essential products? What can we learn from this situation and our pandemic response that will make government more helpful to families in need? It’s a necessary discussion.”

“While this national shortage is due to the recall and voluntary closing of Abbott for safety concerns, and the restrictive trade practices in place, it is critical that we help parents directly while our federal delegation works to ease the shortage,” said Rep. Liz Linehan. “We have asked pediatricians and retail experts to give practical advice on safety for formula replacements, breast milk bank information, and how to navigate retail stock and store deliveries to procure formula. Parents and caregivers are struggling to feed their babies and they need help now. This information is vital.”

“Child and allergy specific foods are always challenging to get and worse for those who are food insecure,” said Rep. Jaime Foster. “Since February I have been hearing from parents fostering kids, those reliant on WIC for food support and those who have children with inborn errors of metabolism or other conditions that rely on specific formula that there have been supply struggles. The State Department of Public Health was quick to expand WIC offerings to address some of the shortcomings in the supply chain for WIC participants. Nevertheless, as a mom I can’t imagine the fear that many parents are facing knowing that their children might not be able to get the specific formula that their child relies on to survive. ”

To help ease the impact of shortages, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises buying no more than a 10-day to 2-week supply of formula. Doctors and Pediatricians say to avoid watering down formula, avoid giving infants alternatives such as cow’s milk, goat milk, and almond milk, and they also advise against homemade formula. Although recipes for homemade formulas circulating on the internet may seem healthy or less expensive, they are not safe and do not meet a baby’s nutritional needs.

Shopping at smaller stores, as larger ones will see more frequent demand and shoppers, is recommended; families in need should also contact community pharmacies, local food banks or milk banks for more resources in aid. However, the most prominent advice is to not panic – despite the challenges of this moment for already-stressed new parents, there are resources available to help.

Parents in need are encouraged to reach out to their pediatricians. There is a temporary formula substitution document prepared by WIC to aid parents in finding alternative formula solutions while the shortage is ongoing. WIC’s state agency can be contacted at 1-800-741-2142. Parents of young children looking to help each other have created Find My Formula CT, a Facebook group where parents can aid others in finding specific brands and types of formula on store shelves in different parts of the state.

To watch today’s discussion, you can click here: