Mom Army: How local moms are helping track down baby formula

baby formula
Posted at 7:31 AM, May 18, 2022

CINCINNATI — Local moms are feeling the impacts of the nationwide formula shortage.

75% of babies are fed formula by six months of age, but experts are saying more than 40% of formulas are out of stock at 20 major retailers.

The shortage is leaving parents and caregivers scrambling to find what they need for their babies.

First time mom Liza Rost began breastfeeding in the hospital and her son, Lincoln, was a champ when it came to eating.

“He’s been in the 99th percentile for size his whole life,” Rost said.

But things changed around two months when Lincoln decided he much preferred the bottle over breast.

“So I was pumping and freezing all of it thinking, oh I’ll use this one day, it’ll be great,” Liza said.

But another change came when Lincoln reached six months. Rost said that’s when he decided he really preferred formula over mom’s milk.

It’s not the ideal switch during what is the worst formula shortage.

Rost is constantly thinking about where her son’s next bottle will come from.

“I can scour websites and see, okay there’s one in stock," she said. "I’m leaving right now and going and getting it.”

Rost is one of thousands of local moms searching online and on store shelves for enough formula to get them through the week.

Now we’re seeing these moms band together on a Facebook page, “In Stock Baby Formula Cincinnati Area.”

It was created for moms to share what’s in stock at local stores on any given day.

Some photos show that the Costco in Springdale has Enfamil or the Kroger in Fairfield has Similac.

It’s a way for moms to save others a trip. Some tell us they visit 10-12 stores a day on their search for formula.

It’s a mom army of sorts, women trying to make sure everyone has enough to feed their babies.

Rost is doing her part to share too.

“I found myself going down to our freezer and realizing we had 450 ounces of breast milk that was not going to be used by us,” she said.

She posted an offer to donate her hard earned breast milk on social media.

“In like 10 minutes it was gone,” Rost said.

A local mother with a newborn stopped by her Norwood home to pickup the breast milk.

While medical professionals don’t recommend or encourage informal milk sharing in this way, there is an understanding that moms will do what they can to keeping their kids safe and fed.

There’s a network for milk sharing in the Tri-State as well.

Experts warn that buying and selling breast milk can be dangerous as well.

If you’re going to take breast milk from a stranger, do your homework to learn about their diet and medications that may impact their donated milk.

The Formula Mom is another great resource for parents. She offers a guide to finding similar formulas when yours is out of stock.

She also offers tips, like using a food scale to measure powdered formula to make sure you aren’t over-packing the scoops.

Doctors warn to never dilute baby formula or “stretch it” so it makes more than was intended.

If you still can’t find formula for your child, contact their pediatrician.

Experts say checking with your local pharmacy and smaller stores may be a better way to find formula compared to the big box retailers.

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