RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has released guidance for parents, families, and caregivers who may be affected by the infant formula shortage.

The VDH offers the following advice for families, guardians, and loved ones looking for formula:

  • Do not use “home” recipes for making your own formula, and do not dilute the formula or alter package instructions in any way as these practices can have severe, at times fatal, consequences for the infant.
  • Purchase only a 10- to 14-day supply each time. Stockpiling will only make shortages worse.
  • Call ahead to nearby stores to find the ones that have formula before you travel.
  • Check smaller markets and drug stores when the big box stores and supermarkets are out.
  • Consider purchasing formula online. Only purchase from well-established distributors and pharmacies. However, do not buy formula online from a vendor outside the United States as it is not guaranteed to be FDA compliant.
  • Discuss with your pediatrician about safe and appropriate feeding alternatives for your child, including breastfeeding.

The infant formula shortage is also affecting the Virginia Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. State WIC Director Paula N. Garrett, MS. RD, says that Virginia WIC was able to formula options in Virginia.

The list of the most recently updated Virginia WIC-approved formulas and substitutions can be found here.

“The low inventory of formula is causing many of our participants to search at multiple authorized vendors to locate necessary products,” said Garrett. “In some instances, Virginia WIC is able to order formula through our formula distribution warehouse for participants; however many of those items are backordered and out of stock as well.”

Virginia WIC has applicable waivers for families to access infant formula during this shortage and has created a crosswalk of affected infant formulas and their types to alternatives that will support the nutritional needs of the infants. 

WIC participants can contact the Virginia WIC Website, call the VA WIC Help Desk (877-835-5942) or contact their local WIC office.

Virginia parents and caregivers are also encouraged to visit the VDH blog for updated information and additional resources, including information on transitioning back to full breastfeeding (if only partially breastfeeding) or re-lactating (if not breastfeeding).

Caregivers can also contact your local Virginia health department for additional assistance.