For Immediate Release (from WI DHS)
July 12, 2022
Contact: Elizabeth Goodsitt/Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) wants to update parents and caregivers about new options available to provide nutrition for their babies as the nationwide shortage continues.
“We know that the infant formula shortage has been very stressful for parents, and we want Wisconsin families to know that they have options to access formula, including specialty formula, and breast milk. We also want to provide more tips for families during this national shortage,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake.
Last month, storms damaged the Abbot formula manufacturing plant in Michigan and forced the company to temporarily stop production of its EleCare specialty formula. As of July 1, the plant has reopened and resumed production of EleCare. The company has announced(link is external) it has ample existing supply of EleCare and most of its other specialty and metabolic formulas until new product is available.
Parents and caregivers should contact their health care provider to obtain supplies of EleCare or ask about the availability of other infant formulas. Abbott has also provided a toll-free phone number for additional information: 800-881-0876.
National supply chain issues and a recall(link is external) of powdered formulas resulted in a shortage of infant formula across the country and resulted in some stores limiting the number of cans of formula sold to a customer per visit. As a result, prices for infant formula also increased.
As the formula supply shortage continues, DHS is continuing to recommend these tips for parents and caregivers:
- Try a new brand of formula.
- Most babies will do fine with different brands that are the same type they are currently being fed.
- Talk to your doctor or pediatrician about short-term options.
- Talk to your doctor or pediatrician about substitutes for hypoallergenic or specialty formula.
- Try a formula that is made in another country.
- Some of these formulas include Bubs, Kendamil, and Similac Pure Bliss.
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has allowed these formula companies to market certain products in the U.S.
- Stores are expected to start carrying these options soon.
- Consider human milk options.
- Those who are currently breastfeeding or may have recently weaned can find resources on the DHS Breastfeeding webpage.
- People looking for donor human milk can visit the Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes website(link is external).
- Anyone considering using human milk that is not from a certified milk bank should make sure the donor is a trusted family member or friend and that they’re tested to make sure they are free from transmissible disease. More guidance is available on the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine website(link is external).
- If you are currently breastfeeding, consider donating your excess milk to a local milk bank. You could also consider increasing your supply beyond what your baby needs and donating the excess.
- The Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Great Lakes provides instructions for donating(link is external) on its website.
More tips for feeding infants during this national formula shortage can be found on the DHS website. The U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) website(link is external) also provides good information for parents and caregivers about the formula shortage. Families can also contact their local WIC clinic with any questions they have about the formula shortage, supplies of formula, and availability. WIC families can find additional information on the DHS WIC webpage.
In late May, Gov. Tony Evers signed Executive Order #164(link is external) prohibiting price gouging during the infant formula supply shortage. At the same time, Wisconsin WIC has been working with WIC clinics around the state to offer as many formula substitutions as possible. Wisconsin WIC and Medicaid have created a system for WIC participants to obtain Elecare and Elecare Jr., Nutramigen with Enflora LGG, and PediaSure 1.5 Cal. substitutions during the formula shortage with a streamlined prior authorization approval. This has provided another avenue for WIC participants to receive formula. DHS will continue to work with WIC clinics and formula company representatives to get updates on supply, help locate formula at stores, and send samples of formula when available.