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Please don't stockpile baby formula

The coronavirus pandemic might be inciting some panic buying, but we don't want the reserves to get low for families who can't afford to buy formula right now.

Please don't stockpile baby formula

Many families who are stuck at home for the coming week from Coronavirus quarantining are facing a concerning question: What if my child needs more baby formula?

With food delivery services like Instacart or Prime Now showing blackouts or several days delayed, some parents have taken to stockpiling formula to make sure they have the supplies they need. Yet others are insisting that stockpiling is the wrong answer—and that those who are overfilling their pantries with excess formula are taking product from other families in need.

At least 75% of babies receive some formula in the first year of life. Parents rely on this product and potential shortages are making parents anxious.

What's the right thing to do?

Experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics say that parents should keep 2-4 weeks of formula on hand at any given time. Dr. Steve Abrams, chair of the AAP Committee on Nutrition says "most families who have 2-4 weeks supply are in good shape," and asks that parents not stockpile formula so that all parents are able to access the formula that they need.

If you're having trouble finding the exact formula brand you typically use, Dr. Abrams suggests families be flexible if possible, particularly for those who don't use specialty formulas.

Under no circumstances should parents water down formula, as the exact formulation is needed to give babies enough calories. And, adding water to formula can cause a dangerous drop in a baby's sodium level, which could lead to serious complications such as seizures.

If absolutely necessary, and under the guidance of your pediatrician, Dr. Abrams says, parents of 9-12 month olds could offer their babies whole cows milk for a limited time if they are unable to find formula. They should not substitute with juice, and should talk to their pediatrician before making any radical changes in their child's diet.

Parents can also call their pediatrician's office, even the after hours line, if they need emergency formula, as doctors offices' often have free samples available or can help facilitate a delivery.

If you find yourself in an emergency where you need formula and are unable to access it through delivery, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following:

  • Feeding America is a nonprofit network of 200 food banks. Many provide free baby food, infant formula, diapers and other supplies. Find your local food bank.
  • Dial 2-1-1 to be connected to a community resource specialist who can help you find local resources. The number can be dialed from almost anywhere in the U.S. You also can get help online.

Beware of coronavirus misinformation: Posts about free cases of baby formula are false

Misinformation is spreading faster than any virus during this pandemic. There are Facebook posts and comments suggesting that formula brands are giving away free cases of formula to parents who call the customer service numbers printed on formula packaging.

This is false. Formula companies are not sending free formula to parents at this time.

Motherly reached out to Enfamil and the company issued the following statement: "We want to provide the Enfamil Community with as many answers as we can and clarify some misinformation during these uncertain times. Enfamil is fully committed to ensuring every baby gets all the Enfamil they need. We have been working with our employees, suppliers, and distributors to maintain availability and safe, high-quality production of our formulas in the coming weeks. Enfamil products can be located through our Enfamil Store Locator and purchased directly from our Enfamil Shop at our regular retail prices. Contrary to rumors in some online social networks, we are not distributing free cases of formula. We are instead focused on ensuring equitable availability for every baby."

The companies behind other popular formula brands have issued similar statements.

Similac states: "We are aware of a post being circulated that offers free formula. Currently Similac is not offering free product through our consumer relations line. Instead, we are doing everything we can to ensure adequate supply at all retail for all of our customers who need it."

Gerber told Snopes: "We are aware of rumors claiming that Gerber is giving away free formula in response to the out of stocks. While this is not true, we are committed to our goal of supporting babies and families with dependable, affordable nutrition," noting that coupons do still work.

The supply chain is still working and these companies stress they are working to get formula onto store shelves and delivered to homes without interruption but they are not giving away cases of formula.

This post was first published March 16, 2020. It has been updated and will continue to be updated as new resources become available.

These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

1. Go apple picking.

Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

4. Have a touch-football game.

Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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