JEFFERSON CITY - With baby formula shortages continuing to cause problems, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is offering guidance to those struggling to find it on the shelf. 

The shortage began due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was made worse by recalls that took place in February 2022. 

DHSS says the shortages have led to parents finding alternative ways to feed their children, which is considered dangerous. 

"Parents find alternative methods for feeding and for infants, this could be dangerous and should be done in consultation with the child's health care provider," DHSS acting Director Paula Nickerson said. 

According to DHSS, those who use Missouri's Women, Infants and Children's program (WIC) have been affected significantly by the shortages. 

WIC's do's and dont's include: 

DO:

  • Do feed a baby over 6 months old more baby food and less formula
  • Do wean a baby over 12 months off formula using water, milk, and food
  • Do consider relactation
  • Do search for formula at numerous stores in your area. 
  • Do call your pediatrician if you run low of stock and ask for assistance. 
  • Do tell family and friends to pick up formula  if they see it shopping.

DON'T:

  • Don't hoard formula, as this will make the shortage worse. 
  • Don't make homemade formula.
  • Don't dilute or water down baby formula to make it last longer.
  • Don't follow online advice unless it's from expert sources.
  • Don't give cow milk or other milk substitutes to a baby under 1 year old.

Renee Davis is an international board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC), who works at Covenant Chiropractic & Wellness in Jefferson City. Davis assists with relactation, where a woman can begin to breastfeed after a period of time without it. 

Davis said relactation doesn't guarantee that a full milk supply can return, but some will come back.

"That milk supply is not going to back bounce or bounce back immediately. But it can be brought back over time," she said.

She encourages those seeking relactation to contact a local IBCLC, with consultants in Jefferson City, as well as Columbia.

As for mothers who seem to be close to running dry on breastmilk, they can form a schedule to pump regularly to prevent it.

"If mom can produce half of the milk supply, and just need to use half the amount of formula that would be incredible," she said.

Davis said she thinks mid-Missouri could use more lactation consultants, especially during this time.

"My heart goes out to those families that are searching for formula right now. It is a scary, scary time," she said. 

To report an error or typo, email news@komu.com.

I'm currently a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in political science. I'm a fan of all St. Louis sports, Oasis and pretty much any Kurt Russell film. Feel free to reach out to me at mgp89g@umsystem.edu or on Twitter @MattPasz2000.

Recommended for you