NewsLocal News


Data show San Diego has a 31 percent out-of-stock rate on baby formula

baby formula
Posted at 3:43 PM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-17 16:24:32-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Walking into the grocery store, parents are noticing a short supply of baby formula on the shelves in San Diego.

As of the week of May 1, there's a 31.29 percent out-of-stock rate in San Diego, according to Datasembly. Overall, the data finder said California is seeing a 31.9 percent out-of-stock rate.

The shortage is leaving some parents scrambling for solutions and causing health experts to send out urgent warnings.

"Please do not dilute your formula to make it last longer. Please do not make a homemade formula," said Dr. Lisa Stellwagen with UC San Diego.

Stellwagen said the effects of taking matters into your own hands could put your child in danger. She instead suggests trying another formula or contacting your child's pediatrician.

Some parents are taking to social media asking for help and saying they are willing to drive hours for breast milk.

Locally, the University of California Health Milk Bank screens its donors and focuses on feeding babies with specific medical needs.

"A fully formula-fed baby who then transitions onto donor milk is also probably going to take it just fine," said Stellwagenm, who runs the milk bank.

She said breast milk banks won't be able to fill the whole need nationally but have seen a 20 percent increase in inquiries for milk in the past week.

"Before this time, I think the formula shortage was there, but it wasn't impacting so many families and that fear factor wasn't there. Now there's this anxiety and fear that's driving an increased request," she explained.

Stellwagen said she's seen a five-fold spike in donors.

While nearly half the supply of milk at the bank goes to babies at home, its main goal is to help babies in the hospital.

"Our goal is to drive milk donation to have more availability to pasteurized donor milk so that those NICU babies have donor milk if they need it," Stellwagen said.

Parents hoping to supply their little ones at home can expect to pay $4 or $5 per ounce of milk.

Additional information on the UC Health Milk Bank in San Diego can be found at

Sharp Chula Vista and Sharp Mary Birch accept breast milk donations. For more information, visit

EDITOR'S NOTE: It was stated in the video clip that Sharp Grossmont accepts breast milk donations; Sharp Grossmont does not accept breast milk donations, according to hospital officials. We apologize for the error.