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Formula recalls. What to do if you’re a formula feeding parent.

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In the past few weeks, there have been a few formula recalls for certain lot numbers of manufactured formula. This can be anxiety-provoking when all we want is to keep our babies safe and fed. As a fellow formula-feeding mom, I hope this blog helps you make decisions and provides reassurance as you continue formula-feeding your baby.

Don’t let people shame you for formula-feeding

The “breast is best” campaign comes out of the woodwork whenever formula recalls happen! They say things like: “breastmilk is never recalled!” or “that’s why you don’t formula feed.” This is hurtful! Vegetables, fruits, meats, etc. also get recalled for bacterial contamination. EVERYTHING we consume has the low risk of contamination. That’s why we do the best we can understanding the information we have. 

As a formula-feeding mother myself, please know that your child is loved, nourished and protected with formula. Risk is there, but it is generally low. But, I do believe education is important. 

The brands impacted

The recall impacted Similac brand formulas manufactured in Michigan. They were recalled because five babies developed Cronobacter sakazakii and Salmonella​ Newport infections. 

Check your lot number HERE to verify it wasn’t the one recalled. 

Do this if your lot was recalled.

  • Stop giving that formula and go to the store for a refund or call the company at 1-800-986-8540. If you qualify for WIC, you can get a similar formula through them. 
  • Monitor for signs of infection. PLEASE remember that this is very rare; but I do believe it’s important to educate so you can monitor.
    • If your child is under three months and has a fever or is of any age and has jaundice (yellowing of skin or eyes), difficulty breathing, dehydration (not making at least four wet diapers in a 24-hour period), and/or mucous OR bloody diarrhea; seek medical attention.
    • Cronobacter and Salmonella are both bacterial infections.

What about other powdered formulas?

  • All powdered formulas can carry an extremely low risk of contamination. I usually recommend ready-to-made formula in the first two months of life. Depending on the baby and formula baby needs, I sometimes do move them to powdered formula after one month. Ask your clinician if you’re unsure.
  • For premature babies, I usually recommend ready-to-made until 3 months of age as they can have higher risk of complications from contamination. 
  • When preparing and storing formula, follow recommendations from the CDC website here. My biggest take-homes from the recommendations are below!

Use Quickly or Store Safely

  • Prepared infant formula can spoil if it is left out at room temperature.
    • Use prepared infant formula within 2 hours of preparation and within one hour from when feeding begins.
    • If you do not start to use the prepared infant formula within 2 hours, immediately store the bottle in the fridge and use it within 24 hours.
  • Throw out any infant formula that is left in the bottle after feeding your baby. The combination of infant formula and your baby’s saliva can cause bacteria to grow. Be sure to clean and sanitize the bottle before its next use.
  • Store unopened infant formula containers in a cool, dry, indoor place – not in vehicles, garages or outdoors.
  • Once a container of infant formula is opened, store in a cool, dry place with the lid tightly closed. Do not store it in the refrigerator.
  • Most infant formulas need to be used within 1 month of opening the container (check the label). When you first open the container, write the date on the lid to help you remember.
  • Never use formula after the “Use By” date on the container.

Although formula recalls may seem scary, please remember this. 

Formula companies work very closely with consumers to regulate formula manufacturing and always have the consumer’s interest at heart.  It is important to take recalls seriously and stop using these lots of formula, get your refund, and monitor your baby. 

Please know if you are using other brands of formula, the risk of contamination is SO LOW. However, there are things you can do to reduce risk (including how you prepare the formula and using water from a safe drinking source (or bottle water if you are unsure of water quality).

As always, I will keep you updated on major updates via this blog or my Instagram @pedsdoctalk

Check out Episode 106 of The PedsDocTalk Podcast – How formula-shaming has led to overwhelming guilt for new moms.

P.S. – Don’t forget I have a YouTube channel!

Dr. Mona Admin

Hi there!

I’m a Board Certified Pediatrician, IBCLC, and a mom of two.

I know the ups and downs of becoming a mom and raising kids.

I help moms ditch the worry and second-guessing so you can find more joy in motherhood.


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All information presented on this blog, my Instagram, and my podcast is for educational purposes and should not be taken as personal medical advice. These platforms are to educate and should not replace the medical judgment of a licensed healthcare provider who is evaluating a patient.

It is the responsibility of the guardian to seek appropriate medical attention when they are concerned about their child.

All opinions are my own and do not reflect the opinions of my employer or hospitals I may be affiliated with.