LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — A nationwide baby formula shortage has families in the Acadiana area struggling.

One local father, Dylan Brown, shares how the shortage is impacting his entire family.

“The shortage has been hard on us, financially and stress-wise,” Brown said.

He is the father of a one-year-old and a two-month-old.

“The milk that used to be covered by WIC is no longer covered so we have to buy formula out of pocket. I set some money aside each time I get paid because I know my son needs milk,” Brown said.

His newborn, he says, uses a particular formula.

“He’s got stomach problems, so he doesn’t take Similac well. He also doesn’t take all the other brands of milk. He only takes Enfamil and its high and whenever you go to the stores they barely have it because everybody else is buying it.”

He says the formula last three days. 

“I spend about $400 to $500 a month on milk; just on milk. Not including rice, not including pampers, not including wipes and not including groceries because the family has to eat.”

In response to the nationwide shortage, the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) Tuesday issued tips to families dealing with the shortage and obtaining appropriate substitutions for the baby.

Jennifer Nicklas, the Director of LDH’s Bureau of Nutrition Services, said that families who have been unsuccessful in finding a preferred brand of infant formula should turn to other brands, including store-branded formula, to ensure babies are getting the nutrition they need. Families also need to exercise caution in choosing substitutes for their babies.

“We understand the frustration families are feeling if they’re not able to find a brand their baby has become accustomed to, but it is very important that we focus during this shortage on keeping babies well-fed with appropriate substitutes,” Nicklas said. “Families should not substitute cow’s milk, goat’s milk or plant-based milk for infant formula, or water their formula down. Families with questions about other substitutes should contact their pediatrician.”

Paula McRae, an RN with Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center offered the following advice.

“Regardless of formula issues, we always promote breast milk. It is the best way to feed a baby and there are very few women who actually are not capable of making milk for their babies.”

She adds, “it’s the healthiest thing for the baby. It has health benefits for mothers too.”

Michelle Bouillion, an RN with Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center, shares how she breastfed her children.

“Breastfeeding is really important for moms to understand that it’s more than just providing nutrition. It’s more than just having a bond. It’s providing what they need for the long term,” said Bouillion.

There are other options for mothers who can’t breastfeed.

“For momma who may have some supply issues if she has another family member who is nursing a baby and is storing milk the surplus milk they have they can use for their baby,” said Mcrae. “Mothers who have surplus milk that they’re not going to use rather than throwing it away can be donated to a milk bank.  Milk banks provide milk for preemie babies in ICUs around the country.”

They warn parents not to make their baby formulas.

“The percentage of the proteins are different. The vitamins and minerals added to the formula will not be in the homemade formulas. Hence, it’s risky, and it’s something that they need to discuss with their pediatricians,” said McRae.

If you have concerns or questions, contact your pediatrician.

For more information on the WIC program, go to or call 1-800-251-BABY (2229).