Update: Specialized infant formula shortage

Updated November 1st, 2022

As of October 25, 2022, Canada has a stable supply of specialized infant formula including:

  • extensively hydrolyzed formulas for mild or moderate allergies
  • amino acid-based formulas for severe or multiple allergies

Supply of specific formula brands continue to change, so you may not find the brand or product you are looking for.  Alternative products are available, but you will need to order them from the pharmacy.

What if my baby needs specialized infant formula?

Discuss your baby’s needs and possible alternative products with your pediatrician or allergist.

Note: Health Canada does not recommend extensively hydrolyzed formulas for:

  • preventing food allergies. No formula has been proven to prevent allergies.
  • infants who are only sensitive to lactose. These products are for those who also have cow’s milk allergy or other medical conditions.

How can I get specialized formula for my baby?

  • Check with your pharmacy to see if they have a supply of the product you need.
  • If not available, ask your pharmacist to order the formula from the distributor.
  • If not available at the distributor, ask your pharmacist or health care provider about other products that might be suitable for your infant. See the list below.

 Printer friendly option: list of hypoallergenic infant formulas

Other important tips:

  • Breastmilk may be an option. If you are combining bottle-feeding and breastfeeding, you can increase the amount of breastmilk your baby drinks. Consult your health care provider, a lactation expert or public health nurse if you would like to start or reestablish breastfeeding.  See Healthy Parenting Winnipeg Breastfeeding Resources and Finding a Health Care Provider
  • It is very important for your baby to get the right amount and type of nutrients for proper growth and development.
  • Only use a store-bought infant formula. The internet is full of homemade formula recipes. These could be harmful to your baby.  See Formula Feeding Your Baby, Manitoba Government
  • Always prepare the formula according to the directions provided. Never water down formula to make it stretch farther.  This will harm your baby.
  • Keep giving formula for the first year if you can. If your baby is over 9 months of age and is eating a variety of iron rich foods, you can introduce whole cow’s milk (3.25%).
  • Do not use other substitutes such as goat’s milk, evaporated milk, soy or rice beverages. They do not have the proper amounts of nutrients that help your baby grow and develop normally.

Should I stock up on formula?

It is always good to have a two-week supply on hand. But please avoid panic buying. This could create supply problems for families that use formula if a lot of people start doing this.

Resources:

Health Canada – Information for Families During the Shortage of formula for Infants with Food Allergies,