Baby Formula Shortage

Texas Children's Hospital Separates Baby Formula Facts From Fiction

Experts offer recommendations for parents struggling to find baby formula

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, the largest pediatric hospital in the country, is sharing new insights and separating facts from fiction about the baby formula shortage.

Experts from the hospital shared the latest updates during an online virtual event Wednesday morning. Taking part were Dr. Stan Spinner, chief medical officer and vice president, Texas Children’s Pediatrics and Urgent Care and Dr. Amy Hair, neonatologist and program director for neonatal nutrition.

"Our families are struggling. We want to give them the best information possible," Dr. Hair said.

According to Dr. Spinner, his offices have been inundated with calls from parents asking for guidance amid the shortage. On the call Wednesday, Spinner said one of the practices doctors are warning against is homemade formulas.

"It is an extremely complicated process. The right combination of fats, proteins, carbohydrates," Spinner explained. "If it’s not done under a strict guidance and expertise, babies…we’re talking about little babies, it doesn’t take much to effect them…can have severe problems with anemia, kidney problems."

Similarly, Spinner also recommended not diluting formula in hopes of making it last longer due to the imbalance of nutrients it could cause.

At Kid to Kid in Fort Worth, store owner Misti McCay has heard from parents struggling to find baby formula in stores. Her location on Hulen Street just received a shipment of Similac on Wednesday and at this point, she does not plan to put a limitation on how many people can buy.

"Right now, it’s just in such high demand. I really, truly as a mom of twins…feel sorry for young moms or moms of young babies and not being able to feed them what doctors say they need to feed them," McCay said.

In a Zoom chat, Dr. Stan Spinner and Dr. Amy Hair, with Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, separate fact from fiction about the baby formula shortage and what parents in need can do to make sure their child's needs are being met.

Raquel Allen of Fort Worth is a mother of two, including a 8-month-old. Like many other parents, she has searched several stores to find the right formula for her son.

"They were all out. There was almost nothing on the shelves. The kind I needed or anything else," Allen said. "I had to go to CVS and CVS had nothing. I mean, bare shelves. I had to go to three different stores just to find a couple of days ago."

Initially, Allen said she did not plan to use formula. Recently, she began to use it as a supplement after her production of breast milk began to decrease.

"It wasn’t enough for him. He wasn’t gaining enough weight, so I had to start supplementing with formula," she said. "I just hope this clears up soon, honestly. I feel so bad for parents that, it’s all their kid can eat. At least my 8-month-old, he’ll eat some solids. He’s at a point where at 8-months-old, you can only have like first and second foods. If he doesn’t like them, that’s it."

On the call Wednesday, Dr. Hair also warned against "informal milk sharing". That usually involves the sharing of leftover breast milk or breast milk ordered online, Dr. Hair said.

"While the thought is good, we really worry about the risks to babies that parents may not be aware of," Hair said. "Infection risks. Bacteria risks. There can be additives in the milk that you’re unaware of."

A replay of the event is available in this article.

Contact Us