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Raleigh May 16, 2022.
Amid infant formula shortages across the country, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is connecting families with resources and sharing recommendations to help safely navigate supply issues. NCDHHS is also expanding access to formula for families using the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
The February recall of certain Abbott infant formulas increased demand for other formula brands, compounding the lingering effects of supply problems that have emerged during the pandemic across the country.
For families struggling to find the formula they need, NCDHHS has several recommendations, as well as four important reminders for families:
- DO NOT dilute your baby’s formula to stretch it, it can be extremely dangerous for your baby to do so.
- DO NOT try to make homemade formula or give your baby formula before his first birthday, this can also be dangerous for your baby.
- If you can’t find formula or can’t find your baby’s specific formula, work with your child’s healthcare provider to determine the best feeding plan.
- Only buy formula from reputable retailers, not from unknown people, online or overseas resellers. The way formula is stored and shipped can affect the safety of your baby.
NCDHHS is taking several steps with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other federal agencies and providers to help make it easier for families to access formula during this shortage, including:
- Through WIC, helping connect families directly with needed formula and placing bulk orders with manufacturers on behalf of local WIC agencies and the families they serve.
- Use the flexibility of the federal government to make it easier for WIC participants to access available formula. North Carolina is already using available USDA rule waivers to help retailers continue to serve families enrolled in WIC during the shortage and help families return or exchange formulas included in the recall.
- Working with the federal government to waive additional rules for the WIC program
- To make it easier for WIC participants to access available formula. North Carolina has applied for waivers that would give families enrolled in WIC more flexibility to purchase other types of formula and in a wider variety of sizes based on availability and health care provider recommendations.
- Provide guidance to local WIC agencies and health care providers to make it easier for health care providers to provide WIC-enrolled families with multiple options of formula types and sizes in a single prescription to meet the specialized formula needs of their families. sons.
- Closely monitor the fluctuating supply of formula across the state and keep our partner organizations updated.
NCDHHS will continue to update and share information for families and partner organizations at https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/child-and-family-well-being/community-nutrition-services.