Then in February, Abbott Nutrition recalled several major brands of powdered formula and shut down its Sturgis, Michigan, factory when federal officials began investigating four babies who suffered bacterial infections after consuming formula from the facility.

Many parents are hunting for infant formula after a combination of short- and long-term problems hit most of the biggest U.S. brands.

Millions of babies in the U.S. rely on formula, which is the only source of nutrition recommended for infants who aren’t exclusively breastfed.

Here’s a look at what’s behind the problem and what parents can do, reports the AP:

WHY IS THERE A SHORTAGE?

Ongoing supply disruptions have combined with a recent safety recall to squeeze supplies.

The problems began last year as the COVID-19 pandemic led to disruptions in labor, transportation and raw materials — economy-wide issues that didn’t spare the formula industry. Inventory was further squeezed by parents stockpiling during COVID-19 lockdowns.

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