'That’s the one thing your baby needs': Mothers, food banks look for infant formula amid shortage

Posted at 6:04 PM, May 10, 2022

CINCINNATI — A national shortage of baby formula is getting worse as 40% of infant formula is currently out of stock across the country. Supply chain issues as well as a recall in February of several Abbott brand baby formulas are to blame.

“It’s really hard because that’s the one thing your baby needs,” Megan Heuerman said.

Heuerman, a mother of two from Lawrenceburg, said it’s difficult to find formula for her 8-month-old son Jackson.

“When you get down to just your last little bit, it’s like now I’ve got to find somewhere to find it again,” Heuerman said. “Right now I think I have three of the little small containers my husband’s mom found me the other day.”

Heuerman said those small containers only last about five days.

“If you’re not breastfeeding, then formula is literally the only thing a baby eats, so it’s definitely really important and of all things to be in a shortage of, it’s very stressful that it’s formula,” she said.

In Cincinnati, the Freestore Foodbank is helping families through its KIND program, which provides emergency formula to families through nearly a dozen healthcare providers.

“With all the grocery stores sometimes limiting per purchase, or with their shelves just not as full, families are need of it and they’re searching for it. And to be able to get it elsewhere is absolutely helpful,” said Jessie Fossenkamper, programs manager at the food bank.

Still, the food bank is feeling the impact of the shortage as well.

“We were probably getting 40 to 50 cases at a time,” Fossenkamper said. "Now we’re getting about 10 to 15."

Heuerman said her pediatrician has been helpful by giving her formula samples. And family and friends help too.

“Just having anyone you know look out for you,” she said. "If they’re out the store and see it, have them pick it up."

The FDA is working to address the shortage of infant formula by leveraging “all the tools at its disposal to support the supply of infant formula products,” according to a press release.

In a statement Tuesday, FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D. said, “Ensuring the availability of safe, sole-source nutrition products like infant formula is of the utmost importance to the FDA. Our teams have been working tirelessly to address and alleviate supply issues and will continue doing everything within our authority to ensure the production of safe infant formula products.”

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