Baby formula shortage causes headache in Austin, here’s where you can get help
AUSTIN, Texas - Baby Zyir is a healthy seven-month-old boy who continues to grow by the day. To keep him strong, his mom relies on baby formula.
"Unfortunately I’m one of those moms who was unable to breastfeed," said Jasmine Anderson.
She noticed it became a little tougher to find it in stores earlier in the spring.
"I noticed it in March, when I would pick up my groceries it would always be out of stock but they would always have it at the Walgreens down the street. Lately Walgreens doesn't have either," said Anderson.
She started ordering it online, but then that became harder.
"Really you are just playing roulette with it, just driving around seeing what you can find," said Anderson.
She is one of thousands of parents dealing with a nationwide baby formula shortage caused by a recall, and supply chain issues.
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"We are flooded with calls from parents with a range of emotions, from anger and frustration to sobbing," said Kim Updegrove, executive director of Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin.
Mother's Milk Bank in Austin is stepping up to fill that void for however many families they are able to help. As of now they say they are helping about 30 families per week
"The milk banks are striving to keep the prioritized medically needy babies fed, but also to provide guidance and in some cases as with the Mother’s Milk Bank in Austin, to provide a short-term small volume of milk to those families in need," said Updegrove.
The Austin Diaper Bank says whenever they receive formula, they are supplying it to some of their partners like food pantries and churches. As for Anderson, she said she has found luck on Facebook groups where parents are posting what stores are in stock. She still wonders where she will get her next can.
"I probably have three quarters of a can right now. But that is only going to last us until the end of the week if we are lucky," she said.
Resources in Austin via Austin Public Health:
- Mom’s Place Lactation Support Center operates as a clinic and training center where mothers can receive breastfeeding assistance from registered nurses and lactation consultants. Appointments can be made by calling 512-972-6700, and a toll-free breastfeeding hotline can be reached by calling 1-800-514-6667.
- Family Connects works to support families after the birth of a newborn. Nurses are available for home visits to measure newborn and maternal health and assess strengths and needs to link the family to community resources. More information is available by calling 512-225-0363 or emailing email@example.com.
The Texas WIC is offering formula options to help families in need. Please note that these options are only available for WIC clients. You can register online to become a client.
WIC clients can go to TexasWIC.org to find the list of alternative brands that are available to them if they cannot find their brand at the grocery store. This list is updated daily. They can also contact their local WIC office for assistance.
HHS Fact Sheet:
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has created a fact sheet to help families find formula.
The current stock of Similac products on the shelf are safe, as these were all manufactured after the recall at a different manufacturing plant not affected by the recall.
If someone has purchased powdered baby or toddler formula with the brand names Similac, Alimentum or EleCare, the first thing they should do is check to see if their formula was affected at https://www.similacrecall.com/us/en/product-lookup.html. Look at the bottom of the can or container and find the lot number and enter it into the website. If recalled, do not use it, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to get a replacement. Abbott can be contacted at 1-800-986-8540.
Parents can contact their baby’s health care provider if their baby recently drank one of the recalled products and are experiencing fever, not eating well, excessive crying, low energy, or other symptoms
Austindiapers.org: Click "help" to access food pantries that may have formula in stock