Due to supply issues in the United States, the availability of some hypoallergenic infant formulas in Canada is currently limited. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) has information about safe feeding alternatives for families impacted by the shortage.
Regular infant formulas are not impacted and only specialized hypoallergenic formulas (e.g., Alimentum, Pregestimil, Nutramigen, etc.) that are recommended for babies with severe or multiple allergies are affected by the shortage. Health Canada is working to reduce the effects of the situation and recommends that these specialized formulas only be used by babies and toddlers who require them.
Given the circumstances, some families may look for alternative sources of infant nutrition, and may benefit from the following information:
- Homemade formulas are not recommended as they may not provide the proper balance of nutrients that infants need. They may also contain ingredients and allergens or be prepared in a manner that can result in contamination by harmful bacteria that cause serious illness.
- Informal breastmilk sharing may have risks and infants who require hypoallergenic formulas may not be able to tolerate breastmilk. Sharing unprocessed breastmilk obtained from private sources is not recommended and has risks which can cause your baby to become ill, including contamination from allergens, viruses, bacteria, medications or drugs.
- (Re)lactation may be an option for some families and parents should consult with their healthcare provider first about whether (re)lactation is an option and how to access help including intensive lactation consultation, including support from a nutritionist and/or registered dietitian.
If you use hypoallergenic infant formula and are unable to find it for purchase or have questions, contact your healthcare provider for information about alternative feeding solutions best suited to your child’s needs. Information about alternative feeding options is also available on the health unit website or by calling Health Connection weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520.
Additional resources may be found through Health Connect Ontario, which can be accessed online or by calling 811 to speak or chat online with a registered nurse or a lactation specialist. You can also call 211, a free helpline that connects you to community and social services in your area 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in over 150 languages.