Colorado families struggle to secure infant formula

Claire Cleveland
Man holding a bottle feeding baby.Photo by Sasha Kim / Pexels

By Claire Cleveland / NewsBreak

(Denver, Colo.) A national infant formula shortage is worsening across the country. Last week, the national out-of-stock percentage hit 43%, according to data from the product firm Datasembly.

The shortage has impacted the more than 60,000 families in Colorado who are on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, according to a statement from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Infants who need specialty formulas due to allergies or other medical conditions are significantly impacted.

“CDPHE is committed to helping families access healthy, nutritious food. Colorado WIC maintains regular communication with grocery stores and formula manufacturers to better understand the timeframes and shortages of WIC-eligible formulas and to help clients find what they need,” said a spokesperson for CDPHE in an email. “Families who are enrolled in WIC and struggling to find infant formula should contact their local WIC agency directly.”

Earlier this year, a defective baby formula brand was recalled after at least four babies were hospitalized with a bacterial infection and at least two babies died. The recall isn’t the only reason for the shortage; however, supply-chain issues and labor shortages also contributed.

The shortage has led to reports of families stockpiling infant formula, which worsens the shortage for others. Some families are making formula at home. Experts warn homemade formula may not be nutritionally sufficient, and the Food and Drug Administration does not recommend caregivers make formula at home.

“Parents and caregivers who are facing challenges with finding formula are encouraged to work with their child’s healthcare provider for recommendations on other ways to feed their baby or toddler if their regular formula is not available,” the CDPHE spokesperson said in an email.

TheThe FDA is working with infant formula manufacturers to increase supply and ensure the formula is safe for babies at the national level.

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Claire Cleveland is a Denver-based freelance writer with a background in health and science reporting. She's covered the pandemic extensively and local news in Colorado. Previously, Claire was a reporter and producer for Colorado Public Radio.

Denver, CO

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