For months now, we’ve experienced a national shortage in baby formula. Situations like these cause fear, stress, and anxiety for parents who are trying to feed their children. It’s important to know how to prepare your family for a food shortage, including formula shortages. If you are struggling to find your baby’s regular formula on the shelves, you can take some other steps. Here’s what to do when there’s a shortage in baby formula.

Consult With Your Pediatrician

One of the first things you should do when there’s a baby formula shortage is to consult with your child’s pediatrician. Medical professionals understand the specific nutrients that your baby needs at different stages of their life, and your pediatrician can give you some guidance and direction on what necessary steps to take in the event of a formula shortage. They will be able to tell you what to do and what not to do in this situation. Pediatricians may also know of helpful local resources where you can find available formula options.

Purchase Other Brands

Purchasing other brands is another thing that you can do during a formula shortage. While the most popular brands are not currently in stock in most stores, you can occasionally find off-brand options that will still be effective in providing your baby with the necessary nutrition that they need to grow. Be sure to check the ingredients before purchasing any formula that you have never used before. Some formulas use different bases, such as milk-based, soy-based, and sensitive varieties. As long as your child does not have an allergy to any other of the ingredients, it is typically safe to switch. You may notice some changes in their bowel movements, but these will settle as your baby adjusts to the change.

Consider Alternative Options

Another helpful tip during formula shortages is to consider alternative options. Depending on the age and needs of your child, your potential options will vary. But there are other avenues you can take to ensure your child is getting the right nutrition. For example, if your child is still an infant, you can consider switching to breast milk. Many states provide resources like breast milk banks for mothers in need. If your baby is 6 months or older, you can start feeding them baby food and solids. Medical professionals do not recommend toddler formulas for children under 12 months, so try to avoid them, as they do not contain the same nutritional elements as regular formulas.

Now that you know what steps to take during a formula shortage, you can find alternative options that work for you and your baby. If you are unsure about certain options or have further questions, make sure to consult with your pediatrician to get answers. It’s always better to ask a professional than to risk feeding your child something they shouldn’t have.