FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – Baby formula maker Abbot has reached a deal with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reopen its manufacturing plant in Michigan.
It shut down in February for safety concerns after Abbott recalled three types of infant formula after two babies died from bacterial infection. Abbott makes about 40% of all baby formula sold in the United States.
Now, parents are struggling to find baby formula and it could be weeks before families see the relief on store shelves.
Sara Rima, a clinical dietitian at Valley Children’s Hospital, says parents can start by looking for store-brand baby formulas that are equivalent to Abbott and other name brands.
“I think a lot of parents don’t realize that you don’t have to stick with the current brand of formula that your baby is used to. There are store brand formulas that are held to the exact same standard that all formula is held to,” explained Rima.
For babies on a standard formula, Rima says it is safe to switch to any other brand of standard formula if your normal option is not available in stores.
If your baby uses non-hypoallergenic formula, Rima says it is best to speak with your primary physician or whoever prescribed the formula before making any switches.
As far as making formula at home, Rima strongly urges against it, saying it could have a negative impact on a baby’s overall health, possibly leading to anorexia.
“It’s not giving your baby all of the nutrients that it needs,” said Rima.
Instead, Rima suggests that parents start branching out from the stores they usually shop at while searching for baby formula.
“I think the best thing to do is to start looking in places you haven’t looked before,” Rima said.
Parents can search for baby formula at pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens, or at locally owned businesses instead of big-box stores like Walmart and Target, where it sells out more frequently.
Experts from Valley Children’s Hospital will be answering questions about the best formula alternatives, what to avoid, safety tips, and more during the hospital’s weekly Virtual Health Series.
The live stream will be held on Wednesday, May 18 at 12:30 p.m. on Valley Children’s Hospital’s Facebook page.