Having Trouble Finding Formula?


May 18, 2022

  • The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) has trained caseworkers to assist families with formula questions on the IDHS Help Line at 1-800-843-6154.
  • State public health officials are urging families to purchase a modest supply of formula during the shortage, which is expected to ease in the coming weeks.
  • In coordination with the USDA Food & Nutrition Service, Illinois retailers are being encouraged to set aside formula for low-income families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program.
  • For families whose babies require specialty, metabolic formulas, the FDA recently informed Abbott Nutrition that the agency has no objection to releasing urgent, life-sustaining supplies of certain specialty and metabolic formulas on a case-by-case basis. Abbott has established a request line for patients and caregivers seeking access to their specialty formulas: 1-800-881-0876.

Donor milk / Milk sharing

  • The FDA suggests that a decision to give donor breastmilk to your infant should be made in consultation with baby's health care provider and that only screened donor breastmilk should be used.
  • If you have an oversupply of breastmilk, consider donating extra milk to an area milk bank.

May 12, 2022

The Department is aware that Infant formula supply chain challenges that arose from the Covid-19 pandemic continue to be a challenge for some specialty and medically prescribed infant formulas.

Yesterday, the FDA published a press release highlighting actions it is taking to address formula supply shortages including working with major infant formula manufacturers to increase supply.

As formula challenges persist, WIC participants should continue to work with their child's health care provider for recommendations on other ways to feed their baby or toddler if their regular formula is not available. In addition, please continue practice safe feeding habits for infants including the following resources:

  1. USDA Infant Formula Safety website - contains key messages for consumers on infant formula safety, and links to other helpful government resources.
  2. Questions and Answers for Consumers on Infant Formula - FDA question #12 addresses homemade infant formula.
  3. Powdered Infant Formula Preparation and Storage - links to CDC guidance on preparing infant formula.
  4. Is Homemade Baby Formula Safe - an informative AAP web article on the topic of homemade formula.

Illinois WIC also strongly encourages the following practices.

  1. WIC participants should redeem formula benefits throughout the month of benefit eligibility and not wait until benefits are about to expire.
  2. Be aware that some vendors have implemented quantity limits on formulas to aid in ensuring equity in access to formula for as many customers as possible.
  3. Work with your medical provider to identify alternative formulas on the IL WIC Formulary that may be more available if you are struggling to find your prescribed formula.
  4. If formula is not found on a store shelf, always ask a store manager or employee if stock is available, as there may sometimes be delays and supplies are being distributed as needed.