OKEECHOBEE — In the face of the ongoing nationwide shortage of baby formula, the Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions and its members are sharing guidance and resources to families struggling to keep their babies healthy. The Okeechobee Healthy Start Coalition is actively working with local and state partners to identify options for parents.
Recent reports indicate that 43% of the nation’s baby formula are currently out-of-stock. The Healthy Start Coalitions recommend breastfeeding as the best source of nutrition for babies, although they recognize that this is not an option for some families. Families should not water down formula mix, make homemade formula, or use animal milk or any milk alternative, as these can lack a proper nutritional balance and pose a risk to young children. The Healthy Start Coalitions are recommending that families who need to find formula look into the availability at smaller stores and pharmacies or try purchasing formula from reputable online sources. Families should check with their pediatrician about changing formula, or for any advice needed.
If anyone has formula or formula samples they are no longer in need of and are looking for a place to donate, but not sure where, we would love to have you drop it by our office and will ensure it is in the hands of those who are in need. Healthy Start is located in the corner breezeway of the White House Plaza at 1132 S. Parrott Ave. in Okeechobee.
“We share the public’s concerns about the current nationwide shortage of baby formula, and we’re actively working with the Florida Department of Health, policymakers and community partners to help find relief for those affected,” said Cathy Timuta, Chief Executive Officer of the Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions. Timuta said families looking for additional information about best practices can find dependable, verified information from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Locally, the Healthy Start Coalition of Okeechobee is limited in support resources for families, but if you are a client with any of the three home visiting programs (Healthy Start, Helping People Succeed or Parents as Teachers), please reach out to your personal coordinator for assistance and resources. If not enrolled in a program, please reach out to your pediatrician, WIC, the La Leche League of the Treasure Coast and the CONNECT Program to see if you are eligible for one of the three local home visiting programs.
About the Healthy Start Coalition of Okeechobee:
The Healthy Start Coalition of Okeechobee is a collaboration of community partners and agencies who strive to establish a system of care that ensures that all women, regardless of socioeconomic status, have access to prenatal care and that all infants and children have access to services that promote healthy growth and development. Find resources and get connected at OkeeHealthyStart.org.
For local information, please contact the Healthy Start Coalition of Okeechobee at 863-462-5877.