Many parents across the U.S. are stressing over a nationwide shortage of baby formula, with supplies dwindling over the past three months due to massive recalls over contamination with deadly bacteria.
“We were using Similac Sensitive, and she actually did get sick from it,” said 31-year-old Nymika Hall of Houston.
Hall told Anadolu Agency that she took her 6-month-old daughter, Dyani, to the doctor after she began experiencing symptoms from formula placed on the recall list.
“She had a lot of spitting up, stomach aches, and was crying a lot,” said Hall. “Before the recall, she never spit up. Now that we took her off of it, she is perfectly fine.”
Finding an alternative formula is now the challenge.
“We’re using Enfamil Gentlease,” said Hall, “But it’s hit or miss whether I can find it at Walmart or online. I’ll grab three or four cans at a time if it’s available.”
Like Hall, many Americans are scrambling to find whatever baby formula they can get their hands on. “The food we bought is no longer available,” said 33-year-old Andrew Wallace of Houston.
The father of 6-month-old Mary Elizabeth Wallace told Anadolu Agency that the recall has forced his family to look elsewhere.
“We ended up finding an equivalent baby formula that’s more expensive, and we got three months’ worth of it,” said Wallace, who up until the recall used to order a one month supply every month online.
The shortage of baby formula is unacceptable & hurting families. There are 200k+ babies born every year in Florida & formula is critical for many of them.@US_FDA hasn’t done enough. Today, I’ll be demanding the Biden admin take more action to fix it. https://t.co/ZOxJzBDKdv— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) May 11, 2022
“There’s nothing on the shelves in the stores, so we grabbed it while we could, which is probably contributing to the shortage if everyone is doing it,” added Wallace. And that seems to be the same narrative across the U.S.: parents stocking up on formula for fear they might not be able to buy it in the future.
“I actually do buy a lot of formula and keep them in stock for a couple months,” said 22-year-old Caleah Xiong of Salt Lake City, Utah, who said she wants to make sure her 9-month-old daughter Calani has enough to eat.
“As bad as it sounds, I’ll buy like 8-10 32 oz cans at a time due to the shortage,” said Xiong.
But that kind of binge buying puts others in a dire position.
“I began to panic on Monday when my husband spent several hours driving around looking for any comparable formula that we could feed our baby,” said 37-year-old Lori Doty of Fulshear, Texas.
Doty’s son, Beckett, is only two months old, and the short supply at stores has her family on high alert.
“We were down to only a couple days left of formula before we would run out,” Beckett told Anadolu Agency.
“We were using Similac Pro-advance. We haven’t been able to find that anywhere this week, and so we are switching over to comparable brands that are available.”
However, being lucky enough to find baby formula on the shelves is not a guarantee of being able to buy the necessary amount.
“Both my husband and I have been going store to store looking for formula in our area and surrounding areas,” Doty continued. “We’ve been able to find some at Costco about 40 minutes from our house, but we’ve been limited to buying two per visit.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Tuesday that it is working “to increase availability of infant and specialty formula products.”
But when that’s actually going to happen is what concerns parents the most. “Our long-term worry is that this issue doesn’t get resolved quickly and we won’t be able to get the formula we need,” said Doty.
“If there’s no more formula in three months, then there’s going to be some major problems,” said Wallace.
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