Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Sentara Healthcare: Resources Available for Families Impacted by the Infant Formula Shortage

Photo by Lucy Wolski on Unsplash

NORFOLK — As the nation deals with an unprecedented shortage of baby formula, Sentara Healthcare is offering tips and highlighting a number of resources available to the community.

“Sentara Healthcare is committed to serving our most vulnerable community members during the worldwide shortage of baby formula. We are here to be a resource during this stressful time for parents. Our resources include medical assessments of newborns and infants should your baby’s needs escalate to a medical crisis,” it said in a press release.

Tips and Resources:

1. Read the fact sheet from the American Academy of Pediatrics: Infant Formula Shortage: Tips on what to do when you can’t find formula at the store.

2. Contact your pediatric care provider for potential resources.

3. Check Facebook. There are Facebook groups connecting those who have formula and no longer need it with those who are in need.

4. If you have WIC, contact your local WIC office ( to identify or obtain additional sources of infant formula nearby.

5. COSTCO, Sam’s Club, BJs, Target, Walmart, and Dollar stores may have formula at different times. Also look at chain and locally owned pharmacies.

6. If breastfeeding is an option or you wish to re-establish breastfeeding and need additional support, contact the lactation consultants at the hospital where you had your baby:

Sentara Breastfeeding Hotline for Southside Hampton Roads Hospitals (SNGH, SLH, SPAH): 757-388-MILK (6455)

Sentara Albemarle Medical Center Lactation Consultants: 252-384-4348

Sentara CarePlex Hospital Lactation Consultant: 757-736-0278

Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital: 434-517-3337

Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital Family Maternity Center: 434-654-8440

Sentara Obici Hospital Lactation Consultants: 757-934-4059

Sentara RMH Medical Center Family Maternity Center: 540-689-3320

Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Family Maternity Center: 703-523-0582

Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center Lactation Consultants: 757-984-7299

7. Gerber’s infant nutrition helpline.

8. Abbott’s Consumer Hotline: 1-800-986-8540

9. Abbott’s urgent product request: Will need to be filled out by an OBGYN or Pediatrician

10. Enfamil: 1-800-BABY-123 (1-800-222-9123)

11. Contact an accredited milk bank. Some are able to sell pasteurized breast milk with a prescription. The Hampton Roads region’s milk bank is at Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters: 757-668-6455

Sentara cautions that guidance is rapidly changing, so it cannot guarantee assistance from any agency or organization listed.

Although every formula is made slightly differently, the essential elements are similar, so switching brands is an option. Sentara urges parents to try to stay within the “type” of formula their baby uses to avoid stomach upset and nutritional issues, and advises consultation with a pediatric care provider if parents are unsure how to switch.

Comparable formulas:

Cows’ milk-based (“regular formula”)

  • Earth’s Best Gentle Formula
  • Enfamil Newborn, Infant, or Reguline
  • Good Start Gentle
  • Similac Pro-Advance — when available from manufacturer
  • Store brand Advantage Infant Formula (Walmart, Target, Kroger, Walgreens, CVS, Meijer, Sam’s Club, Amazon, Costco)

Soy-based (“soy formula”)

  • Earth’s Best Organic Soy
  • Enfamil Prosobee
  • Good Start Soy
  • Similac Soy Isomil — when available from manufacturer
  • Store brand Soy Infant Formula (Walmart, Target, Kroger, Walgreens, CVS, Meijer, Sam’s Club, Amazon, Costco)


  • Earth’s Best Gentle
  • Enfamil Gentlease
  • Good Start Soothe Pro
  • Similac Sensitive — when available from manufacturer
  • Store brand Sensitive Infant Formula (Walmart, Target, Kroger, Walgreens, CVS, Meijer, Sam’s Club, Amazon, Costco)


  • Gerber Extensive HA
  • Nutramigen
  • Pregestimil
  • Similac Alimentum
  • Store brand Hypoallergenic Infant Formula (Walmart, Target, Kroger, Walgreens, CVS, Meijer, Sam’s Club, Amazon, Costco)

Amino-based (for severe allergies and certain specific syndromes)

Younger than 1 year

  • Alfamino Infant
  • Elecare Infant
  • Neocate Infant
  • Neocate Syneo
  • Puramino DHA & ARA Infant

Older than 1 year

  • Alfamino Jr
  • Equaquare Jr
  • Essential Care Jr
  • Elecare Jr
  • Neocate Jr
  • Neocate Splash
  • Puramino Jr

Sentara warns parents not to water down formula as it can give babies diarrhea and cause dehydration and weight loss. It also cautions against using adult products such as Carnation Instant Breakfast or combinations such as nonfat dry milk and Kayo Syrup with water as they lack necessary nutrients and can increase the risk of bacteria, fungus, and other contaminants and cause diarrhea and other illnesses. Sentara urges consultation with a pediatric care provider about any alternatives other than a brand name formula.

Sentara reminds those need support managing stress and anxiety that Postpartum Support International ( is available 24/7. You can call or text the helpline number: 1-800-944-4773.

Click here for a printable flyer of resources and guidance on the infant formula shortage.

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