National Infant Formula Shortage: Options for Support
Many parents have been struggling as store shelves normally full of baby formula are now sitting empty due to the national shortage. Parents are encouraged to contract their child's pediatrician for guidance on navigating the shortage and what is best for their baby.
The OhioHealth Mothers' Milk Bank collects, pasteurizes and distributes milk from approved donors to hospital NICUs all over the country. A small portion of the milk is also distributed to families in need.
"We do have donor milk that is available, but there is a process that people would have to go through to get it," said Chris Smith, RN, IBCLC, outreach coordinator and lactation consultant at the Mothers' Milk Bank, in a recent interview with WLWT News5 in Cincinnati. The process includes paperwork and a prescription from the baby's pediatrician.
Once donors have completed the screening process and are approved to donate, milk can be donated directly to the Milk Bank in Columbus, as well as 16 milk drop sites throughout the state. The donated milk is then pasteurized, analyzed and distributed.
Below is a statement from the Ohio Lactation Consultant Association with suggestions for support and ways to help during this time:
As the association representative of International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) and all breastfeeding educators and support persons in the state of Ohio, OLCA shares concern with state policy makers, health associations, departments and families regarding the shortage of infant formula. OLCA recognizes that not all families prefer to breastfeed or are able to breastfeed, but endeavors to raise awareness of strategies which may be helpful to the formula shortage prenatally and postnatally as families make infant feeding choices.
- We encourage prenatal providers and pediatricians to talk about breastfeeding with patients and provide resources for prenatal and postnatal lactation care for families with goals to breastfeed
- If a family is struggling with breastfeeding, reach out to a lactation consultant, who can help provide solutions to challenges and potentially minimize the need for formula
- Lactation consultants assist with all types of infant feeding, whether at breast or with a bottle; all types of milk, whether breastmilk or any combination of formula and/or breastmilk; and can also help with relactation to whatever degree possible
Options for accessing IBCLC lactation consultant care and breastfeeding support in Ohio:
- Ohio Breastfeeding Alliance Database with links to local lactation consultant care across the state of Ohio
- Ohio Department of Health/Appalachian Breastfeeding Network 24/7 Hotline: 1-888-588-3423
- Many local birthing hospitals offer outpatient lactation consultations
- Ohio WIC offices also offer peer lactation support as well as IBCLC care
- If mothers have extra breast milk that they would like to donate, contact OhioHealth Mothers’ Milk Bank at 614-566-0630 or email email@example.com. Infants with medical needs may qualify for insurance coverage of donor milk.
Contact your infant health care provider for specific questions about what is appropriate to feed your baby.