This is a scary time for you if you are reliant on infant formula to feed your baby(s). Many of you have searched the shelves all over Houston looking for their preferred brand (or any formula) and have come up empty handed. What are the Houston-area formula and donor milk resources? Kelsey Seybold physician Dr. Melanie Mouzoon suggested in a Houston Chronicle article:
“…parents [can] try smaller drug stores and shops if they can’t find formula at big box retailers. Generic brand formula might also be easier to find, she added. But Mouzoon cautioned against buying formula or breast milk from someone online like on Facebook marketplace, diluting formula with water or attempting to make your own. If mothers are able to, she recommends breast feeding.” (1)
How do I decide which formula to choose?
There are several formula brands and types on the market so how do you know which brand is safe for your baby? Bootin and Savrick Pediatrics in Houston has created a detailed list of compatible brands and types of formulas to look out for when out at the store (2). The broad formula types can be grouped into:
- Standard Milk-based formulas
- Plant based formulas
- Hypoallergenic or Elemental formulas
Checking with your pediatrician first on appropriate substitutions is recommended. Bootin and Savrick Pediatrics go on to say:
“if your child is on a dairy based standard formula you can safely feed her almost any [formula] you can find. If your child is on a dairy-based formula but with the minor variations, you can also safely feed your child almost any [formula] you can find, but they may have minor tummy irritations. … not dangerous at all and most can be worked on in other ways.”
What are some other formula and donor milk resources in the Houston area? In addition to searching for formula in Houston, many families are considering donor human milk as a viable option to feed their baby.
What are my donor milk options locally?
HMBANA (Human Milk Banking Association of North America)
Milk Banks receive human milk donations and sell the pasteurized milk for a fee per ounce (it’s often used for NICU and fragile babies). You can find out more information on where to drop off donor milk in Texas at this link and also how to request a donation.
Informal or Peer-to-peer breastmilk donations
It is important to note that informal milk sharing is not regulated and as a result it is up to both families to explore the risks and benefits. Two organizations that facilitate peer milk donation are:
Eats on Feets Texas – who advocate for safe milk sharing and the Four Pillars: Informed choice, Donor Screening, Safe Handling, and Home Pasteurization
Human Milk 4 Human Babies and the Texas milk sharing group can be found on Facebook.
You can reach out to family and friends who may be willing to provide human milk for your baby.
What’s next and how long will this go on?
This week, the US government has issued emergency orders including the Defense Production Act to speed up manufacturing of formula in this country (3). The estimates are that it will be 6-8 weeks before we see the shortages lessen around the country.
We understand that it is difficult to find formula and donor milk and that this is a very anxious and worrying time for you and your family. We would like to help you in any way we can! Please reach out to us at Milk Connections Lactation Consulting with any questions or concerns about where to find Houston-area formula and donor milk resources.
- MacDonald, E. (2022, May 12). ‘it’s very scary’: As Houston Moms Struggle To Find Baby Formula, how long will the shortage last? Houston Chronicle. Retrieved May 20, 2022, from https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/Houston-moms-baby-formula-shortage-17166718.php?sid=5b0231662ddf9c12eaea4d49&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=news_a&utm_campaign=HC_MorningReport
- Your formula questions answered: What you need to know during the formula shortage. Bootin and Savrick Pediatrics. (n.d.). Retrieved May 20, 2022, from https://www.bootinandsavrickpediatrics.com/formula-shortage/
- Horsley, S. (2022, May 19). How the U.S. got into this baby Formula Mess. NPR. Retrieved May 20, 2022, from https://www.npr.org/2022/05/19/1099748064/baby-infant-formula-shortages