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Multnomah County WIC program offers resources, advice for parents struggling with formula shortage

Published: May. 13, 2022 at 10:26 PM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - Parents are desperately trying to find formula for their babies amid a nationwide shortage.

Multnomah County’s WIC Program has resources and advice to help.

They serve more than 12,000 families who meet financial and nutritional need requirements, who are pregnant, breastfeeding or have children up to five years old.

They said in Oregon, there are now more formulas that families can by with WIC vouchers, so that alleviates some stress.

Right now, they’re encouraging parents who supplement their baby’s diet with formula, to breastfeed more.

“Breastfeeding and breastmilk is an optimal nutritional choice, especially considering that we are having challenges with getting formula on the shelf,” WIC Program Supervisor and Lactation Consultant Sabrina Villemenay said.

She said they have experts walking parents through it, working on positioning and latching techniques, and pumping.

And there are ways for moms to relactate even if they haven’t breastfed in a while.

“The breastfeeding journey can start at any juncture in an infant’s life so for example if your baby is four months and you’re deciding that you want to begin that journey, let’s try. So yes we are getting calls and families that are interested in just having this alternative of optimal nutrition through breast milk,” Villemenay said.

The Interim Nutrition Programs Manager Veronica Lopez Ericksen said they do not recommend cow milk or dairy free alternatives because they’re too hard for babies to digest, and formula should not be diluted.

“The concern is mostly around the nutritional needs of the baby and for their growth and especially their brain development they need the formula prepared exactly as directed,” she said.

They also have a text messaging program to let families know where to find formula they need and what new products have been recently approved.

You can learn more here.