Watering down baby formula, known as formula “stretching” can have many serious and long term consequences for an infant. Yet for many food insecure families, finding the resources to purchase enough formula is a severe problem.
In recent years the issue of formula “stretching” has gained national attention after an incident in which a 5 month old child almost died from receiving formula that was watered down. In this case the child was diagnosed with “water intoxication” and malnutrition and went into cardiac arrest. The child recovered, although long term effects are still unclear.
The Supplemental Nutrition Program for Woman, Infants and Children, often referred to as WIC, provides nutritious foods to supplement diets of low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women as well as infants and children up to age 5. The West Seattle Food Bank provides information and referral to WIC which is a very important resource for low-income families.
Two thirds of families receiving WIC benefits report running out of formula toward the end of each month. A typical can of formula will cost approximately $20-$25 per can, which is a big stretch for a family struggling to pay rent and other basic expenses. Through donations and purchases of formula, the West Seattle Food Bank is able to supplement those families with formula.
Other agencies partnering with the West Seattle Food Bank to improve the lives of children include:
- WestSide Baby – In partnership with WestSide Baby we distributed diapers, clothes, furniture, toys and other basic supplies that help infants and young children lead safe and productive lives.
- Within Reach – Visits the West Seattle Food Bank every two weeks to inform families about the SNAP program (food stamps) and other food and health related benefits.