Ministry of Health advises parents on do’s and don’ts as they navigate the world shortage of baby formula

The Ministry of Health is issuing advice to mothers with babies and young children, as the world navigates a baby-formula shortage.

The shortage is due to supply-chain issues and the recent recall of infant formula by a leading manufacturer.

In light of these challenging times, the Ministry advises that mothers who are breastfeeding should continue to do so once possible.

While this is not an option for everyone, those who are breastfeeding are encouraged to continue to do so for at least the first six months of their babies’ life.

In the meantime, parents are encouraged to check smaller shops and pharmacies, which may still have infant formula in stock.

If one’s regular brand is not available, it is okay to switch to another brand, the Ministry says; and if the stage of formula currently being used is not available, then mothers should have a discussion with their healthcare provider before upgrading or downgrading to another stage.

Mothers are being encouraged to consult a pediatrician if their baby requires a specialized formula; and if no formula can be found, they should consider sharing or borrowing unopened cans with other families in their network.

Meanwhile, the Ministry is advising against a number of things that parents are doing to fill the void of not having readily available baby formula.

These include: making your own formula or watering it down to stretch it out; using expired formula; using goat, cow or plant-based milk as a formula substitute for babies under one year old; giving toddler formula to infants under one year old; and giving cereal to infants under six months.

Another caution is not to give tea or porridge, such as cornmeal and green fig, to infants under six months of age.

The Ministry says that “these options can lead to poor growth and serious health problems” for the infant.

According to the Ministry, it will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as they become available. Mothers are being advised to speak to their pediatrician, district nurse, or midwife at a community clinic if they continue to have concerns.