A state program is helping Arizonans deal with the baby formula crisis

Arizona's WIC program is helping families navigate the baby formula shortage crisis.
Arizona's WIC program is helping families navigate the baby formula shortage crisis.(John Crowley / CC BY-SA 2.0)
Published: May. 13, 2022 at 3:33 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — The Arizona Department of Health Services is highlighting its program to help parents deal with the baby formula crisis. Officials say many families impacted by the shortage are participating in the Arizona Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which provides nutrition education, breastfeeding support services, referrals for health and social services, and more. Families in the WIC are at or below 185% of the federal poverty level. WIC usually provides baby formula from Abbott Nutrition, a maker of Similac brand infant formulas. But because of the shortage, WIC is helping people get alternatives until supplies return to normal. Officials said supplies for Similac Advance Infant Formula are stable and WIC is increasing supplies of Similac Soy Isomil, which some WIC families use.

Right now, Similac for Spit-up, Similac Total Comfort, and certain other specialty formulas are harder to find so WIC is helping families find alternatives, ADHS said. ADHS also has advice for those families not in the WIC. Officials say parents should ask their pediatrician about their child’s nutrition and possibly transition temporarily to another type of formula. Doctors say to use only FDA-approved formula and families can look at other places besides supermarkets for baby formula, including pharmacies, convenience stores, or specialty stores.

Officials don’t recommend making your own formula since some recipes may not be safe for every child or meet their nutritional needs. “Infants need a very specific balance of nutrients to grow. When breastfeeding is not an option, a formula approved by the FDA has what babies need,” ADHS said in a statement.

If you are unable to locate infant formula provided through WIC, please call your local WIC clinic for assistance. You may also contact the AZ WIC Shopper Helpline at 866-927-8390 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. You also can email azwicshoppershelpline@azdhs.gov. Staff is available to help connect families with alternative infant formulas.