The formula shortage has caused many parents anxiety, fear, and worry as they wonder when store shelves will be stocked again. For most, if their baby is generally healthy, switching formulas temporarily will be well tolerated. But for babies with pediatric feeding disorders (PFDs), it’s not that simple.
May is National Pediatric Feeding Awareness Month and Feeding Matters, a non-profit organization based in Arizona, is aiming to help alleviate some stress for parents of children with PFDs, especially amidst the formula shortage.
Cuyler Romeo, Director of Strategic Initiatives with Feeding Matters said that according to a new nationwide study, more than 1 in 37 children under the age of five annually receive a diagnosis or currently have a pediatric feeding disorder.
What are Pediatric Feeding Disorders?
According to Feeding Matters, pediatric feeding disorders are typically defined when a child is unable to eat the quantity or variety of foods needed for sound nutrition, growth, and mealtime participation that other children their age can eat.
For children suffering from PFD, especially infants who are exclusively formula-fed, the right source of formula can be like medicine.
“Many children with PFD have a condition, such as a severe food allergy or metabolic disease that requires prescribed medical nutrition. Specialized formulas may be their only safe source of nutrition and without it they may suffer severe health consequences such as gastric bleeding, ulcerations of their esophagus and extreme,” said Romeo.
Feeding Matters Formula Resource:
Since 2006, Feeding Matters has been on a mission to unite the concerns of families with PFDs with advocates, experts, allied healthcare professionals, and the community at-large to improve the system of care for these children.
Now, with the recent formula shortage, Feeding Matters has put together a collection of resources with information and tips for families on how to find the formula they may need and how to take next steps when their formula is not available.
“Families want and need to nourish their children. When a child’s only food source is unavailable, families may have to resort to feeding methods that are not optimal for the child,” said Romeo. “We hope that families find a pathway to support and the broader PFD community. Accessing formula may be only one of their many needs in navigating the PFD journey.”
Other Ways Feeding Matters Can Help Families:
In addition to the formula resource page, Feeding Matters also has several tools and information available for parents who think their child may be suffering from PFD including the Infant and Child Feeding Questionnaire , as well as a condensed 6-Question Screener, that identifies red flags for PFD.
Once the risk of PFD has been identified, families can take the next step towards receiving needed care by reading the Family Guide to PFD.
“PFD can be a long and arduous journey for any family,” said Romeo. “Feeding Matters is here to walk with families; no family should feel alone.”