This viral infographic on baby formula is useful but shows the perils of internet advice – SFGATE

This infographic posted to Facebook by Power in Changing has brought increased attention to store brand baby formulas as alternatives to name brand formulas amid the ongoing shortage resulting from a recall in February 2022.
While American consumers lament inflation levels emptying their wallets, newborn parents are battling a simultaneous crisis that’s emptying their pantries: A nationwide baby formula shortage. 
“It’s affecting pretty much anyone with a child that’s on formula,” Ayanna White, the CEO and founder of Power in Changing, a non-profit diaper bank in Columbia, S.C., told SFGATE. “The problem we’re facing is people are being brand specific.”
On Feb. 28, Abbott Nutrition voluntarily recalled several powdered infant formula products manufactured in its facilities in Sturgis, Mich., following an investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control. The recall of Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare powdered infant formulas produced in Sturgis has since led to supermarkets, pharmacies and convenience stores struggling to keep formula on their shelves.
Store brands, however, were not impacted by the Abbott Nutrition recall.
This is a carousel. Use Next and Previous buttons to navigate
Empty formula shelves at Shop Rite in Marlboro, N.J.
Empty formula shelves at CVS in Morganville, N.J. 
Empty formula shelves at Walgreens in Englishtown, N.J.
Empty formula shelves at CVS in Morganville, N.J. 
Empty formula shelves at Walmart in Old Bridge, N.J.
Empty formula shelves at Walmart in Old Bridge, N.J.
Power in Changing provides diapers, wipes and other essentials to low-income families and families dealing with hardship, free of charge. Since the recall, the organization has seen increased demand for its services, including from middle-income families, with parents expressing their desire for name-brand formulas.
That led the organization to post an infographic to its Facebook and Instagram pages this week that shows store brand alternatives to name brand formulas like Similac and Alimentum.
The image has since been reshared and began trending across the country, including by the Austin Diaper Bank, Rock Island County Health Department and the National Diaper Bank Network. All this popularity has come despite the image having no clear indication of who produced it or when it was produced — ever a story of social media in 2022.
White said she found the image through a quick Google search. She later confirmed to SFGATE that the graphic came from Perrigo Pediatrics, a company that produces store brand formula.
“It wasn’t posted in haste,” she said. “When I’m at the office, you can look at the labels and see. Products are donated to us, but we have to be extremely careful because we’re liable, since it’s a baby.”
White also clarified that any parent considering a formula change needs to consult their pediatrician or a pediatric nutritionist. SFGATE spoke to a pediatrician about how the store brand formulas in the infographic compared to name brand formulas.
“From a strictly nutritional standpoint, especially in this country, formula is under the aegis of FDA,” Dr. Robert C. Zaglin, a pediatrician in Daly City, Calif., told SFGATE. “So what they say is on the label is in it.”
According to Dr. Zaglin, brand name formula manufacturers claim that what differentiates their products is the emulsification process — “how they bang it around to make the molecules different and mainly smaller.” The smaller the particles, the less of a challenge the formula poses to the gut barrier and digestion.
Some claim that the size of the molecule can affect a formula’s allergenicity. And while any formula change should involve a pediatrician’s guidance, both White and Dr. Zaglin told SFGATE they have heard of people going to the length of looking up baby formula recipes from the 1950s that involve evaporated milk.
But Dr. Zaglin said he’d simply advise his patients to try store brand formula.
“Go to Costco, get their brand. Look at a can of Enfamil. They’re the same,” he said. “They may be emulsified differently. They may taste different. But nutritionally, they’re the same.”
Below are brand name formulas listed in the infographic along with store brand alternatives available at Walmart, Target and Amazon, among others, as available at press time.
Parent’s Choice Advantage Baby Formula Powder with Iron, Immune Support at Walmart
Up & up Advantage Powder Infant Formula at Target
Member’s Mark Advantage Non-GMO with 2′-FL HMO Infant Formula Powder with Iron at Sam’s Club
Parent’s Choice Sensitivity Baby Formula Powder With Iron at Walmart
Sensitivity Non GMO Powder Infant Formula at Target
Member’s Mark Sensitivity Baby Formula Powder at Sam’s Club
Parent’s Choice Hypoallergenic Infant Formula Powder at Walmart
Non-GMO Hypoallergenic Powder Infant Formula at Target
Mama Bear Hypoallergenic Infant Formula Powder with Iron at Amazon
Parent’s Choice Gentle Baby Formula Milk-Based Powder with Iron at Walmart
Complete Comfort Powder Infant Formula at Target
CVS Health Complete Comfort Baby Formula Powder with Iron at CVS
Parent’s Choice Soy Baby Formula Powder with Iron at Walmart
Soy Powder Infant Formula at Target
Comforts Soy-Based Infant Formula Powder With Iron at Kroger
Parent’s Choice Non-GMO Powder Baby Formula at Walmart
Ryan Craggs is the Director of Content Marketing for Hearst Newspapers. He has previously worked for The Huffington Post, Thrillist, and Condé Nast Traveler and was also a roofer and shoe salesman once upon a time. In his free time, he enjoys competing in pushup contests, cooking and teaching poetry to neighborhood kids.