Baby formula shortage 2022: What stores are limiting how much customers can buy?

Leada Gore
al.com (TNS)

First it was toilet paper. Then disinfectants. Now it’s baby formula.

Several major retailers and stores are placing limits on how much baby formula you can buy due to ongoing product shortages. Here’s what you need to know about the 2022 baby formula shortage.

Why is there a baby formula shortage? 

Production issues have impacted a variety of products during the pandemic, but the shortage of baby formula was exacerbated by a recall of several popular products. 

Earlier this year, Abbott Nutrition recalled several batches of its powdered formula brands such as Similar, Alimentum and EleCare. The recall came after four consumers said the products gave their infants bacterial infections. It was expanded after an infant died after consuming the formula.

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How severe is the shortage? 

Fox Business reported during the week of April 3, approximately 31% of infant formula were out of stock nationwide, according to retail software company Datasembly.

What stores are rationing baby formula? 

Walmart, Target, CVS and Walgreens are limiting the amount of baby formula that can be purchased at one time. Walmart is allowing people to buy five containers of formula each day in stores; Target hasn’t announced its restrictions but online buyers are capped at four items. Shoppers at Walgreens and CVS are limited to three infant and toddler formula products per each transaction.

Does Amazon sell baby formula? 

Yes, Amazon sells baby formula but be mindful of potential price-gouging or fraudulent products from third-party sellers. If you buy on Amazon, it’s recommended you purchase directly from the brand’s storefront. 

Baby formula is in short supply.

What do I do if I can’t find the baby formula I need? 

Check to see if you can purchase directly from the retailer online. You can also check with your pediatrician or doctor to see if they have samples available or advice on substitute brands.

Can you make your own formula? 

No, it’s not safe, according to experts. According to WIC, it’s unsafe to overdilute formula, make homemade infant formula or feed your baby (under one year old) cow’s milk or cow’s milk substitutions.

Can you switch formulas safely? 

Dr. Payal D. Adhikari, a Chicago-based pediatrician, said you can as long as your baby is healthy. 

“I really do recommend parents do that from the beginning because of this issue. If you run out of formula, if you’re traveling, you can’t get that same formula, you want your babies to be flexible and not be particularly stuck to a specific brand of formula,” Adhikari said. “The younger they are, the easier it is to just introduce multiple types of formula to make them flexible.”

When will the baby formula shortage end? 

There’s no set time. Abbott told The Wall Street Journal it is currently trying to increase the availability of baby formula by ramping up production at some of its facilities, as well as shipping formula to the U.S. from Europe.

That said, it’s unclear exactly when parents will see relief at the store.