Public Health and Prevention Division
Infant Formula Shortage
The Inyo County Health & Human Services - Public Health and WIC programs continue to meet with the local healthcare providers to determine the needs and options for our community. Health officials will continue to monitor the shortage and provide updates as new information is available.
Babies need the right balance of nutrients - not too much or too little of anything - to grow and be healthy. It is important for your baby's health to use products that meet federal standards to ensure the formula is safe and free of harmful bacteria.
During this challenging time, Inyo County is encouraging parents and families to:
- If you are currently breastfeeding, continue if possible. We recognize this option may not be viable for everyone. If someone is partially breastfeeding, they may consider reaching out to a lactation care provider (in-person or by telehealth) to help ensure that they maintain or increase their milk supply by breastfeeding more.
- Talk to your child's doctor about substituting formula brands. For most babies, if their regular brand of formula is not currently available, it is OK to substitute with a similar version. Also consult your child's pediatrician if your baby requires a specialized formula, before making any substitution. If you have questions about which formula is acceptable, contact your child's pediatrician or your local WIC agency.
- Avoid making your own formula at home, use expired formula, use cow, goat, or plant-based milk for formula, or giving toddler formula to infants. Although recipes for homemade baby formulas on the internet may seem like an answer to the formula shortage, they can be dangerous for your baby’s health. Pediatricians advise that homemade formula may not be safe or meet your baby's nutritional needs.
- Do not water down formula to make it last longer. When babies drink too much water, it’s hard on their tiny kidneys to process the extra water. It can also affect electrolytes which are essential minerals for the body. And if that happens, it’s not safe for a baby’s brain, muscles, and nervous system.
- Apply to the WIC program. To apply call 760-872-1885. About half of all births in California are in low-income families who qualify for the WIC program, and income-eligible clients can receive a WIC card and use it to purchase a limited amount of formula at participating retail stores. WIC offices are staffed by individuals with close ties to their communities. Existing WIC clients should use their benefits for formula earlier in the month in case they run into shortages near the end of their benefit period.
- Find out what resources exist in the community and share those resources widely. If you see infant formula in stock when you're shopping, make it known within your network.
Public Health and Prevention Vision Statement:
We are Leaders of Change Empowering Healthy Communities
The Public Health and Prevention Division works to promote and encourage healthy behaviors, prevent epidemics and the spread of disease, improve early child development, prevent injuries, respond to disasters that impact the medical and health delivery system and assist communities in recovery, and assure the quality and accessibility of health services throughout the county.
COVID-19 Response & Recovery
Please visit our COVID-19 Response Update page for more information about COVID-19 in Inyo County.
Inyo County Health and Human Services (HHS) Public Health Division, Board of Supervisors, and County Administration are actively monitoring the infectious disease outbreak of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). The Inyo County HHS Public Health division is the lead authority for all public health emergencies in our County and is actively monitoring the situation and posting updates with critical information on COVID-19 from local, state, and federal sources. Every effort is made to ensure the timely distribution of information and guidance updates.