May 11, 2022
As the nationwide formula shortage continues to affect parents and caregivers, more information on possible solutions are popping up all over the internet and social media. Missouri WIC would like to help you sort through the information you are seeing, and provide a guide of dos and don’ts when it comes to keeping your baby safe and healthy.

The dos will not be possible for everyone, so make sure and see what you might be able to do. The don’ts apply to everyone, so please follow this list!

Do:

  • DO feed your baby over 6 months old more baby food and formula, as appropriate. A great resource, Food to Grow On: Birth to 12 months, provides a guide to the nutritional intake needed by babies during their first year of life.
  • DO wean your babies over 12 months old off of formula, as appropriate. After their first birthday, babies no longer need formula to meet their nutritional needs. Caregivers can wean the baby using water, milk, and food.
  • DO consider relactation. It is possible, with some effort, for women to relactate even if they didn’t breastfeed when their baby was born or weren’t able to for long. Contact a local IBCLC to help if you want to try to relactate.
  • DO search for formula at multiple stores in your area. Check the customer service desk at the store to see if they are keeping any there. Call a store before making the trip to check their supply or ask when the next supply truck arrives.
  • DO tell friends and family the brand and type of formula you use and ask them to pick it up for you if they see it in a store while shopping.
  • DO call your pediatrician if you run low and ask for guidance. They will be able to give you guidance on a safe formula switch or may even have samples to help you for a few days.
  • DO reach out to your WIC local agency for guidance or assistance when looking for solutions to keep your baby healthy!

Don’t:

  • DON’T hoard formula. Only keep a monthly supply, at the most, to give other caregivers the opportunity to find formula. Hoarding is making the shortage worse!
  • DON’T make homemade formula! Without proper regulation, homemade infant formula may lack proper ingredients that are vital to infant growth and can cause life-threatening foodborne illnesses when consumed. There are many social media conversations about how homemade formula was used a long time ago and babies were just fine. They weren’t just fine. Babies died before commercial formula was widely available. The infant mortality rates were higher and babies were malnourished. Don’t make homemade formula.
  • DON’T dilute (water down) your baby’s formula to make it last longer. Your baby needs the full formula for proper nutrition and growth.
  • DON’T follow online advice except from trusted, expert sources. Your baby’s health and nutrition is too important to risk!
  • DON’T give cow’s milk or other milk substitutes to a baby under 1 year of age. Before your child is 12 months old, cow’s or goat’s milk may put him or her at risk for intestinal bleeding. It also has too many proteins and minerals for your baby’s kidneys to handle and does not have the right amount of nutrients for your baby.

You are doing a GREAT job taking care of your little one!

April 15, 2022

Participants now have 20 more formula alternative options to purchase with WIC benefits. The new alternatives are in medium and large containers. The medium containers will remove 1.5 containers from your benefits. In addition, the alternative formula options will be available until at least May 31, 2022.

Similac Sensitive, Similac Total Comfort, and Similac for Spit Up now have additional options.

 

 

March 25, 2022

Following the advice of pediatricians and nutritionists, Gerber Good Start Gentle will be moved as an alternative formula under Similac Advance instead of Similac Total Comfort starting April 1 because of an important difference. Infants who are fed Similac Total Comfort often need broken down proteins because they don’t have the ability to digest full proteins yet. Gerber Good Start Gentle is a good option for formula, but it does not contain those important broken down proteins and is not seen as an equivalent to Similac Total Comfort.

Good news: Missouri WIC will continue to allow the 32 oz Gerber Good Start Gentle Pro as a temporary alternative formula for Similac Total Comfort because it contains easy-to-digest proteins. Participants who would like to continue to get Gerber Good Start Gentle in April will need to return to their WIC local agency to get the formula on their eWIC card changed to Similac Advance.

Alternative formula for Similac Sensitive and Similac for Spit Up remain the same.

 

March 16, 2022

Missouri WIC received a temporary waiver that allows you to redeem your Similac formula benefits for larger containers of formula if standard-size Similac formula is not available at an authorized WIC retailer.

What does this mean? You can use your benefits to purchase larger containers of formula, in addition to the alternative brands of formula added on February 25. The images below show the larger containers available as alternatives for each issued formula type. Your My Benefits icon will also show you the larger containers when you view your formula benefits.

You may begin to purchase these larger containers of infant formula as early as March 16, 2022, depending on each individual retailer’s availability. Larger containers will remove 2 containers from your benefits.

Note: If you want to change your issued formula type, you need to return to your WIC local agency.

 

February 25, 2022

Missouri WIC received a temporary waiver that allows you to redeem your Similac formula benefits for other brands of formula if Similac formula is not available at an authorized WIC retailer.

What does this mean? If you have formula benefits on your eWIC card, you can redeem those benefits for alternative brands of formula – WITHOUT having to go to your WIC local agency! This temporary waiver will carry over into March benefits as well! The images below show the alternative brands for each issued formula type. Your My Benefits icon will also show you the alternative brands when you view your formula benefits.

You may begin to purchase these alternative brands of infant formula as early as February 25, 2022, depending on each individual retailer’s availability. Retailer’s systems may have a 1-2 day delay.

Note: If you want to change your issued formula type, you need to return to your WIC local agency.

  Similac Recall  Similac Recall

February 23, 2022

Missouri WIC received a waiver that allows retailers to exchange the recalled Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare formula products. WIC authorized retailers must treat all customers (including WIC participants) the same with regard to the recall exchange process and possible substitutes, which may include, but are not limited to: the same product, a substitute product in another brand, a store credit, or a cash refund.

Retailers are not required to verify whether a product was purchased with WIC benefits as part of the exchange process. The recall exchange process could vary with each WIC retailer. Talk to your retailer to learn how to complete the exchange. If the exchanged cans cost more, the store may charge you the difference, depending on the store policy.If unable to complete an exchange at the retailer, call the Similac hotline at 1-800-986-8540 or complete the form at similacrecall.com.

 

February 18, 2022

URGENT RECALL: Abbott has issued a recall for Similac powder formulas manufactured in Sturgis, Michigan. These formulas may be contaminated with Cronobacter sakazakii.

To check if your lot number is included in the recall, go to https://www.similacrecall.com/us/en/product-lookup.html.

If your product is affected by the recall, do not use it. Never dilute infant formula or feed homemade infant formula to infants.

Find more information on the @MissouriWIC Facebook page.

JPMA, Inc.