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Baby formula shortage continues to hit South Dakota

A recall of Similac Advance in late February is still having a rippling effect on the overall supply of formula, affecting every manufacturer.
Published: May. 10, 2022 at 5:32 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The baby formula shortage hitting the country continues. South Dakota is one of the hardest hit states, with more than half of baby formula supplies sold out across the state. North Dakota and Iowa join South Dakota on that list, according to a report from Datasembly.

A recall of Similac Advance in late February is still having a rippling effect on the overall supply of formula, affecting every manufacturer. Many stores have started limiting how much people can purchase at one time, including CVS and Target. Avera Health Pediatrician Dr. Kara Bruning said the shortage of formula means an increased threat of malnutrition to infants in the state.

“It’s a huge problem. Babies are either breastfed or formula fed for the little ones. That’s it, that’s their whole food group. So if you have problem with formula, and for whatever reason you are done breastfeeding or you are can’t breastfeed, or whatever it is. And you can’t find formula, how do you feed your baby?” said Bruning.

The South Dakota WIC program said it’s been able to purchase formula from other manufacturers to help it’s participants. But the program also said those looking for formula are looking everywhere. There’s even been Facebook groups that have popped up in the state, with members buying and selling formula that they find in stores.

“Unfortunately, people are going to some extreme measures right now. Some people are going to multiple stores. If you can buy it online, you can do that. But they’re trying to do anything that they can to find formula.” said Bruning.

On Tuesday, the FDA said the agency has been working with Abbott and other manufacturers to bring safe products to the market. It said it’s meeting regularly with major formula manufacturers to better understand their capacity to increase production of various types of infant formulas and medical foods. The FDA also said it’s monitoring the status of formula supply.

Sanford Health Pediatrician Dr. Bisma Arbab said with limited options, parents and families should be keeping their eyes open for any formula they find. She said that those who can breastfeed should, as it helps reduce reliance on formula.

“I would really like the emphasize for the moms who are expecting, or really new parents that breastfeeding is the best nutrition that you can give to your children.” said Arbab.

What both pediatricians advise against is making your own formula at home. Both said homemade formulas lack the right nutrients and calories that infants need, and warn against starting infants on other foods too soon.

“Babies, especially little ones should only have breast milk or formula. And we don’t recommend making your own formula because it’s not the right caloric density. Babies can have malnutrition, they don’t have the right vitamins , things they need.” said Bruning.

“We really do not want to give them anything too diluted and anything that’s lacking, because the weight gain is the one thing that we are really looking for.” said Arbab.

Both Bruning and Arbab said parents or families looking for formula should leave their options open when it comes to buying which brand. Both said as supply fluctuates, it’s best to find formula that’s in stock rather than hold out for a brand that isn’t available. And both said that any parents that have questions should talk to their pediatrician on what’s best for their baby.

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