I am a formula-feeding mom. I was unable to breastfeed my first two children, and purposefully chose not to breastfeed my third. All three required special formula due to severe dairy allergies and premature birth. I suffered from postpartum anxiety and depression and I cannot even begin to imagine how I would have coped with the idea of not being able to find our specific formula in-store. I never had to consider where to find formula in the Boston Area. My Amazon subscribe and save order and Target drive-up orders took care of it. A luxury I took for granted.
As you’ve likely seen on the news, our country is facing a major formula shortage. The panic is palpable in mom groups, as millions of U.S. families require formula to keep their children fed. Let me be clear here: this is NOT about “choice” (formula vs. breast), this is about feeding children who otherwise CANNOT BE FED. This is a crisis, and it seems to be ramping up in the Greater Boston area.
Formula supplies have been at near-crisis level since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when fearful parents began stockpiling product. That, coupled with mid-pandemic supply chain delays, left supplies dwindling in some areas of the country. And then the unthinkable happened – Abbott Nutrition recalled several types of formula and shut down their Michigan-based factory when reports of serious bacterial illnesses in infants began being reported. Unbeknownst to most people, Abbott is one of the only formula manufacturers in the United States, so shutting down their operation crippled supply.
Moms who are walking this road right now: my heart is with you. While I don’t have all of the answers, I do have some resources to share that might help.
We’ll continue to add to this list as information becomes available. Please feel free to leave a comment here if there is a resource we’ve missed, and we’ll add it.
A few (gentle) reminders for people who aren’t directly affected right now:
- This is NOT the time to share your thoughts on breast vs. formula feeding with a stressed out mom. Please, just don’t.
- Check in with the moms of formula-fed infants you know. They are afraid and they need our support.
- If you are a mom who has extra resources OR a mom who has just finished formula-feeding and has extra stock leftover, please consider donating to a mom in need.
Where to Find Formula in the Boston Area
If a baby can tolerate breastmilk (not applicable for all cases), seek out Mothers Milk Bank Northeast. Human Milk 4 Human Babies Facebook MA group is a helpful place to source donations.
Boston Subreddit | Locals are posting where they’re seeing formula on the shelves
Vanessa Thornton, mom of two formula-feeders and Board Certified Pediatric Dietitian, is offering free 15-minute phone calls for Massachusetts parents navigating the formula shortage. She will help you make an individualized plan that is safe and healthy for your baby. Book a free ‘Formula Shortage Game Plan’ appointment on her website here: www.southendfamilynutrition.
Contact The Wish Project
In Stock Right Now
Little Cocoa Bean Co. in The Seaport currently has Bobbie formula IN STOCK
(Know a small shop that currently has stock? Let us know!)
Tips and Tricks for Finding Formula in the Boston Area
- Call stores and inquire about their stock
- When you’re physically AT the store, ask a store associate when they expect to receive a shipment
- Check online first thing in the morning! Some parents are having luck as early as 5 or 6 A.M.
Call your pediatrician and ask if they have any samples you can have
Try stores that are “off the beaten path”: drug stores, small grocery stores, convenience stores
Put notifications on to get notified when formula comes back in stock online
Follow and turn on notifications for Facebook groups that feature “deals”, like Fierce and Savy and Krazy Coupon Lady. Those sale groups post frequently when things come back in stock.
- Read through the CDC fact sheet
What NOT To Do
- Do NOT hoard formula that you do not need (please)
- Do NOT purchase or use OPEN formula cans
- Do NOT use expired formula
- Do NOT make your own formula
- Do NOT dilute formula or add more water than instructed
We’ll continue to update this resource as information becomes available.