White House Press Secretay Jenn Psaki said the Food and Drug Administration was "working around the clock to address any possible shortages," but an already present formula shortage (due largely in part to a massive recall of Abbott formulas) has parents worried about how to feed their babies.

For months now, there have been spot formula shortages at grocery stores and pharmacies, and much of that was fueled by the massive recall of popular Similac formula products by their parent company Abbott. Abbott makes Alimentum and EleCare, two commonly used formulas for babies with sensitive stomachs /medical issues, and finding those formulas has become a nightmare for parents.

An NBC News report shared data showing formula shortages throughout the country, though particularly stronger in southern states. They estimate that there's a 40%+ shortage on shelves, and in some states, even more missing. While the White House says they're looking to address any 'possible' shortages, parents are worried as they're in the middle of the shortages right now, and there doesn't seem to be any end in sight.

The FDA said it was working with U.S. manufacturers to allow them to increase output and streamlining paperwork so that more imported formulas could be brought in.

But that's not doing much for many babies right now whose moms can't find what they need on the shelf.
A typical can of formula lasts about three to five days and can cost $17-$20 a can. The shortage has driven up demand, and as sadly expected, the prices of what formula can be found have soared, leaving many marginalized and lower-income families who are already struggling desperately to find alternatives.

Retailers have already limited purchases of formula, and the nationwide shortage doesn't seem to have much hope in sight as only a handful of companies are accountable for nearly the entire U.S. supply.

While industry leaders say the limitations on supply began last year due to COVID-19 disruptions in the supply chain and labor/transportation production, the Abbott recall took several major brands off the market after four babies suffered bacterial infections due to the formula. Two of those babies died. Abbott denies that the formula was the likely source of infection, though the FDA investigation into the bacterial strains collected from the babies (which do not match the strains of the trace bacteria on several surfaces at the Abbott plant in Sturgis).

Abbott says its Chicago-based plant is increasing production to begin to meet the gap needs, and is even air-shipping formula from a plant in Ireland. Many of the formulas that the FDA still has Abbott holding are those that are specialized for babies who have special needs. Those formulas (formulas like Alimentum and EleCare) are only made in the United States and at the Sturgis facility (which is still unopened), but the FDA has now allowed Abbott to release some of those formulas NOT affected by the recalls on a 'case-by-case' basis. Abbott is coordinating with hospitals and physicians and giving those free of charge.

Still, parents are wary because there is still some concern about the problems from the Sturgis plant and since the FDA hasn't specifically identified a root cause, parents feel like they're damned if they do and damned if they don't.

The FDA is also waiving enforcement of minor product labeling issues to allow greater availability of both U.S. and imported products.

We at Mothering believe (and have always believed) that breast milk is the most nutritious, cost-effective way to feed your baby. But we also know we don't live in a perfect world and for many moms, nursing is not feasible. This shortage of food is terrifying for them, and we're watching to look for ways we can help. We've compiled a list of some of the baby formulas Mothering readers have preferred and depended upon in the past; they're currently available and it may be worth having to help a fellow mama out if in need.