Category Archives: Healthy Start News

Healthy Start Promotes Local Resources During Nationwide Baby Formula Shortage

Healthy Start Coalition of Brevard: 321.634.6101

Brevard County, FL – In the face of the ongoing nationwide shortage of baby formula, the Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions and its members are sharing guidance and resources to families struggling to keep their babies healthy. Coalitions are actively working with local and state partners to identify options for parents.

Recent reports indicate that 43% of the nation’s baby formula products are currently out-of-stock. The Healthy Start Coalitions recommend breastfeeding as the best source of nutrition for babies, although they recognize that this is not an option for some families. Families should not water down formula mix, make homemade formula, or use animal milk or any milk alternative, as these can lack a proper nutritional balance and pose a risk to young children. The Healthy Start Coalitions are recommending that families who need to find formula look into the availability at smaller stores and pharmacies or try purchasing formula from reputable online sources. Families should check with their pediatrician about changing formula, or for any advice needed.

“We share the public’s concerns about the current nationwide shortage of baby formula, and we’re actively working with the Florida Department of Health, policymakers and community partners to help find relief for those affected,” said Cathy Timuta, Chief Executive Officer of the Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions. “Our local Healthy Start Coalitions will continue to collaborate with local and state partners to help bring solutions to parents at this challenging time, and will provide local resources wherever possible.”

Timuta said families looking for additional information about best practices can find dependable, verified information from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Locally, the Healthy Start Coalition of Brevard has identified the following resources for families:

Manufacturer Resources:

Store Locator:
Consumer Hotline: 1-800-986-8540
Customer Service: 1-800-227-5767, Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm EST
A physician can submit an urgent product request by completing and submitting this form.

Store Locator:
MyGerber Baby Expert ( can connect you with a certified nutrition or lactation consultant by phone, text, Facebook Messenger, web chat, or video call, who can help you identify a similar formula that may be more readily available.

Mead Johnson:
Store Locator:
Costumer Service Line: 1-800 BABY-123 (222-9123)

Florida Resources:
•Florida’s Family Health Line provides local referral services statewide. They can be reached by calling 1-800-451-2229.
•You may be eligible for Women and Infant Care Services (WIC) through the FloridaDepartment of Health. For more information on this resource, visit
•Contact your local food bank.
•Visit the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Florida (
•Local hospitals may provide education, support, and resources to assist families.

For local information, please contact the Healthy Start Coalition of Brevard at 321.634.6101.


About the Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions

The Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions is a network of statewide partners committed to bettering the lives of Florida’s babies and their families. Learn more at

Back To Sleep

Dr. Banta, OTD, MS, OTR/L, CIMI-II

Welcome to my monthly blog courtesy of Healthy Start Coalition of Brevard County. My name is Dr. Caylee Banta and I am a pediatric occupational therapist serving the children of Brevard County, FL. For my first topic, I believe it is the important way to start and educate/discuss what “Back to Sleep” truly means.

When we think about “Back to Sleep” we can also look at the evolution of sleeping programs that have been in place for our babies. The Back to Sleep Program was developed in the 1980’s in developed countries to reduce the number of infant deaths. There was a heavy influence by the media to portray this program as lifesaving, but after the media began to diminish  talks of the program and not discuss it much, it was then up to healthcare providers to educate families of the benefits. One area that research finds that healthcare providers lacked was not only educating on the “back to sleep” program, but the dangers of putting your baby on their tummy to sleep or “prone to sleep.”

The Back to Sleep Program, although, has been around for many years continues to be constructively modified and perfected. Since the program has been in effect it seems that the number of parents aware of the program has decreased by 7% from the 1990s to the 2000s—but the decrease in knowledge goes back to educating not only on back to sleep but the safety concerns of sleeping on the tummy.

Let’s take a look at the benefits of Back to Sleep, Tummy to Play program. This program is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The 2 most important things to remember when practicing safe sleep practices is:

  • babies are safest when sleeping on their backs at nighttime and during naps.
  • tummy time is a great position or prone for babies to “play” but they need to be watched. This position helps promote strong muscles in a gravity resistant plane.

Majority of babies do not like tummy time, especially as newborns. They prefer to be cuddled and held in positions of comfort such as if they were in utero. Parents will typically ask “what amount of time is appropriate for tummy time?” Tummy time should start when the baby comes home from hospital. Babies should experience tummy time as much as they can tolerate multiple times per day and the tolerance should be built up as the baby continues to build muscle strength and enjoy the activity. What does tummy time do?

  • encourages muscle strength
  • prepares the baby for their developmental milestones including crawling
  • incorporates visual scanning -improves neck control

*A tip to get your baby to enjoy tummy time is place an interactive toy in front of them or you get on the floor with them and vocalize (sing nursery rhymes, encourage cooing, etc.)

The Back to Sleep Program says that you should always place babies back to sleep EVEN during their naps. Babies need to be placed on a firm surface with no objects near the baby that could increase the risk of entrapment. Baby should not having anything that could cover their face during sleep. Babies should be in a temperature that is comfortable where they do not get too hot.

Please let me know if you have any more questions and always remember BACK TO SLEEP and TUMMY TO PLAY!

Back to Sleep, Tummy to Play (Copyright © 2008 American Academy of Pediatrics, Updated 08/2016)

a huge thank you to Sunshine Health during these UNPRECEDENTED times

Donations play an important role during these unprecedented times.  Our Coalition is grateful for those that can help others who are in need.  A huge thank you goes to Sunshine Health for thinking of the moms and babies in Brevard County.  These Walmart gift cards will directly benefit the Healthy Start moms and babies that are in dire need in our county.

 Thank you very much for your generous donation to the Healthy Start Coalition of Brevard. 

Are you or someone you know pregnant or recently had a baby during the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Due to the impact of COVID-19, we are taking every precaution we can for the safety of our staff and our moms and babies of Brevard, while working within the best practices set forth by the CDC, the Florida Department of Health, and the State of Florida.

Now more than ever it is crucial that pregnant women and new parents are offered the support and assistance they need.

We are still here for you! During this unprecedented time, our “home-visiting” services will be provided via video-conferencing or over the phone. Our team has put internal protocols into place based on recommendations and guidance from the Florida Department of Health and the Agency for Healthcare Administration regarding technology, working remotely, and HIPAA.

We wanted to thank all of our staff, Healthy Start care coordinators, and Nurse Family Partnership nurses for adjusting to these new times and still providing ongoing support to our moms and babies of Brevard County.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at 321.634.6101.