Governor McKee, RIDOH Outline Guidance for Families Impacted by Baby Formula Shortage

Published on Wednesday, May 18, 2022

PROVIDENCE, RI – As federal officials work to resolve the current national baby formula shortage, Governor Dan McKee and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) are providing guidance and resources to families being affected.

“Parents should not have to worry about running out of formula to feed their baby,” said Governor McKee. “We must make sure Rhode Island families have access to safe formula – that is why we are coordinating with the federal government to monitor the situation at the national and local level and do more to help families impacted by this shortage.”

“There are some precautions that families being impacted by the formula shortage should take to help keep their infants healthy and safe,” said Interim Director of Health James McDonald, MD, MPH. “Any parent who has questions or concerns should call their pediatrician. RIDOH also has staff ready to provide resources, guidance, and support.”


  • If you have questions or concerns about whether your child’s nutritional needs are being met or about what formula you can give your infant, call your child’s pediatrician or RIDOH’s Health Information Line: 401-222-5960.
  • If the kind of formula you usually use is not available, switch to another brand of formula that is available. Standard formula brand like Similac and Enfamil (soy or milk-based) are interchangeable. If your baby uses a specialized formula, check with your baby’s doctor to see if there is another formula you can use.
  • Check smaller stores, bodegas, or pharmacies to see if they have formula in stock. Call ahead of time to check if they have the formula you need.
  • The current formula shortage is being worsened by a large national recall of baby formula. Check the lot number on any formula you already have. Check the online list of lot numbers that have been recalled. If the lot number is not included in the recall and the formula is not expired, it is okay to use.
  • Women who are pregnant should consider breastfeeding. To learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding, visit RIDOH’s website. For breastfeeding and lactation resources, contact RIDOH at 401-222-5960.
  • If your baby is six months or older, consider starting solid food to supplement formula.


  • Do not dilute formula or use extra water to make the powdered formula last longer. Follow the formula manufacturer’s preparation and storage directions.
  • Do not buy formula from people you don’t know on social media sites, online auctions, or overseas. You need to be careful to avoid scams. Order formula only from reputable and trustworthy sites.
  • Do not make homemade formula or give toddler formula to infants.
  • Do not give cow’s milk to children younger than age one. It is not safe to do that.
  • Do not hoard formula. When there is a limited supply, we need to make sure there is enough for everyone. Some stores are limiting the amount of formula you can buy at one time.

Formula manufacturers and the Federal government are working to increase the formula supply nationwide.

RIDOH will continue to closely monitor formula availability. For regularly updated information about the formula recall and for information specific to WIC clients, visit RIDOH’s website or call RIDOH at 401-222-5960.

If you are a WIC participant and have questions about WIC benefits and accessing the formula your baby usually gets, call RIDOH at 401-222-5960.

You can learn more about the recall here.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has additional information for families online, including hotlines for the different formula manufacturers.