16 Trusted Resources to Help You Find Formula During the Shortage

Here are some creative yet reliable ways to get the baby formula you need.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Updated June 16, 2022
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Image: Ochivis Pictures/Shutterstock

If you’re worried about finding baby formula during the shortage, you aren’t alone. The good news? There are a number of national, community and online resources available to help families get the formula their babies so desperately need. Drawing from the newly released US Department of Health and Human Services guide and insights from pediatricians and parents alike, we’ve compiled a list of helpful places to turn to and tools to use in your search for available formulas.

Community Resources

  • Contact United Way’s 2-1-1 line. Dial 2-1-1 to connect to a community resource specialist who can help you identify food pantries and other charitable sources of local infant formula and baby food.

  • Call your local food bank. Ask staff members or volunteers if they have infant formula and other supplies in stock. You can find the closest food bank near you using Feeding America’s locator here.

  • Get breast milk from an accredited milk bank. Contact the Human Milk Banking Association of North America [HMBANA] for information on the closest HMBANA-accredited breast milk banks near you and how to access milk. It’s crucial to go through a regulated and secure milk bank like HMBANA, since informal milk banks may not screen their donors to identify any potentially harmful substances in donated milk.

  • Locate your nearest community action agency (CAA). Your neighborhood CAA may be able to provide you with formula or connect you with local agencies that have formula in stock.

  • Talk to store managers about when to expect shipments. The next time you stop by your local grocery store or drugstore, ask the manager when they might expect another shipment of formula. Plan to arrive close to that time to get the best inventory selection.

Online and Social Media Resources

  • Follow social accounts for live formula updates and swap suggestions. Accounts like @formulamom and @theformulafairy provide the latest information on formula availability sourced from thousands of followers.
  • Use local Facebook groups and formula exchange boards. Formula exchange boards like this one from @theformulamom or this one from US Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson, connect families that need formula with parents that may have access to specific formulas or leftovers.

    Wellness company FIT4MOM, has also launched Moms With A Mission: Milk Mission 2022, a national online group providing a central location for parents, caregivers and community members to share store locations, resources and support for those in search of baby formula.

    But word to the wise: Use caution when purchasing formula through these groups. If you don’t know the person you’re buying the formula from, ask for pictures to check that the formula is unopened and in good condition. Use Paypal to ensure your money is refunded in the event of a scam.

  • Apply for formula from the Free Formula Exchange. Built by a Massachusetts mom and communications specialist, this new platform (launched May 13) connects people in need with people willing to donate. It takes less than two minutes to fill out the form for a request, and all formula is free. However, as of right now, there is no screening process and people requesting or donating formula assume all risk.

  • Buy from direct-to-consumer online retailers like Gopuff and VitaCost. While some formula supplies on Amazon may be sold out, smaller instant online delivery options like Gopuff, or specialty online retailers like Vitacost, may have the formula you need in stock. Gopuff’s team recently released a statement that they’re adding more formula inventory over the coming days and weeks as they know families are in critical need. Get $10 off your first 2 orders on Gopuff using code thebump.

  • Use the Fighting The Formula Shortage Interactive Map. Created by Houston mom Marcela Young, the Fighting The Formula shortage map provides the email and addresses of mothers in need of formula along with those willing to donate formula and breast milk. You can also browse breast milk banks and storefronts reported to have formula near you.

  • Get formula inventory updates sent to your phone. Find My Baby Formula is a free site designed to alert parents when select formulas have been restocked at stores near you. Simply sign up, select your stores and the formula you need and you’ll be sent a text as soon as your selected formula is restocked.

Manufacturer Hotlines

  • Reach a certified lactation or nutrition consultant using MyGerber Baby Expert. Consultants can answer your formula questions and are available 24/7 by phone, text, Facebook Messenger, web chat or video call.

  • Call Abbott’s consumer hotline at 1-800-986-8540. You can talk with Abbott professionals about your concerns and recommended formula switches for your baby.

  • Send a fax to Abbott’s urgent product request line. Ask your ob-gyn or your infant’s pediatrician to submit an urgent product request by downloading and completing this form.

  • Call Reckitt’s Customer Service Line at 1-800 BABY-123 (222-9123). For questions about their formulas and which might be right for your baby.

Looking for more guidance on what to do if you’re struggling to find formula? Check out pediatricians’ top tips for families trying to navigate the crisis, and what steps the US government is taking to help address the situation.

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