A confluence of factors has led to a nationwide baby formula shortage. Dr. Dale Lee, medical director of clinical nutrition at Seattle Children’s, shared some advice for parents with The Seattle Times.

Here are some key takeaways from Lee:

Contact your pediatrician

“I highly recommend that families contact their pediatrician for guidance and support in this difficult time,” said Lee. “Nutrition is a core building block of growth and development and we as your pediatricians are happy to help you navigate this challenging time.  It is important that families realize that they are not in this difficult time alone.”

Be careful when considering alternatives

Toddler formulas, such as formula for children over 12 months, are generally a higher caloric density than infant formulas, Lee told The Seattle Times.

Additionally, Lee notes that nut milks from a grocery store are of low caloric density and not formulated to be “nutritionally complete,” and can result in nutritional deficiencies.

“Diluting formulas likewise puts infants/children at risk of deficiencies,” added Lee. “It is important to speak with your pediatrician and/or dietitian to discuss changes in formulas that involve more than changes from one standard cow’s milk based formula to another.”

Avoid informal breastmilk sharing

While Lee says breastmilk sharing has risen in popularity, he does not recommend informal sharing.

“Breastmilk can be formally shared via breastmilk donor programs like the Northwest Mother’s Milk Bank, where procedures are taken to carefully screen, test, and pasteurize breastmilk,” said Lee.

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