Advice on health issues from Maryland department in light of infant formula shortage – CBS Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) – In the face of a nationwide shortage of infant formula, the Maryland Department of Health is advising families to stay in close contact with their child’s healthcare provider and to help residents see if they are eligible for extended WIC benefits.

Across the country, more than 40% of top-selling formulas are out of stock after manufacturer Abbott was forced to close a factory linked to several hospitalizations of infants, including two deaths.

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“MDH is working with federal, state, local and community partners to ensure Maryland families with newborns and infants have the information they need about options during this nationwide formula shortage and recent recalls. “said Health Secretary Dennis Schrader. “We will continue to monitor all aspects of the infant formula shortage and encourage families to access the many resources available to stay up to date.”

Abbott recalled three popular brands of powdered infant formula in February due to four complaints of the common environmental bacteria Cronobacter sakazakii.

In light of the resulting shortages, the Maryland Department of Health is urging residents not to dilute formulas or use homemade formulas.

“If you feed a baby breast milk from a source other than the baby’s mother, you should only use milk from a source that has selected its milk donors and taken other precautions to ensure the milk safety,” the agency said.

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It’s okay to switch to another brand if available, and parents whose babies need special formula should consult their child’s pediatrician about comparable brands, the department said.

Anyone who cannot find a specialty formula can use the following resources:

WIC participants should contact their local office for assistance in finding the plan or making changes to their benefits. Residents of Maryland wishing to enroll in the program may visit the Maryland WIC website or call 1-800-242-4942 to find out if they are eligible.

The program has expanded the allowable sizes, brands and formula types available to enrollees.

The department has also published several breastfeeding resources:

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“During this difficult time, we encourage families struggling to find formula to contact their child’s primary health care provider,” said Dr. Debbie Badawi, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics of Maryland. . “Your local pediatric health care providers can help you during this time. The Maryland Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics has worked with pediatricians in Maryland to ensure they are aware of possible resources. We also remind families never to dilute your formula as this could make your baby very sick.

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