ST. LOUIS — A national baby formula shortage is causing concern for many local parents struggling to find enough for their kids.
In late February, manufacturer Abbott Nutrition left parents of young babies scrambling after recalling popular formula Similac and three other brands. The manufacturer even shut down one of its plants in Michigan.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will investigate complaints about children getting sick from bacterial infections before the recall.
“If it was my kid, I would be driving wherever I could to try to find it,” said Jamie Thompkins, who lives in Cahokia Heights. “I would travel wherever I needed to.”
The recall coupled with a supply chain shortage has left some parents stressed while searching for formula.
“At the childcare center, especially in the infant room, my co-workers are making formula for the children all day. So not knowing if it’s going to last a week or month, that’s stressful,” said Amber Killem, a former local childcare worker of 13 years. “I empathize with them.”
Some major retailers like Target, Walgreens, and CVS, are limiting how much formula customers can buy to prevent panic buying. Walmart is currently only allowing five per customer.
One couple in Sullivan, Missouri, has searched high and low after their 10-month-old baby Lillian’s formula was one of the brands recalled. Like many parents, they searched online and in local stores but had a hard time finding a brand that didn’t cause their baby to have gas or spit up the necessary nutritional supplement.
“It feels like we’ve been through everything, and now we’re back around full circle,” said father Brett Snodgrass.
“When I heard, I was terrified,” said mother Natasha House. “I was in tears I was like how am I going to feed my child?”
After Lillian had reactions to the formulas they tried, they finally found a brand that works, but they worry about how long it’ll be sustainable.
“We literally have traveled hundreds of miles, hours,” said House. “But now we’re even stuck with them only having the big cans. So we’re paying double the price we normally would.”
Dr. Maya Moody is a pediatrician at Mercy Hospital and the president-elect of the Missouri Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She has seen a wave of patients asking the same question, what do they do now?
“It’s important for families to realize a lot of the store brands or off-brand formulas are still FDA regulated and still safe and most babies would be just fine,” said Dr. Maya Moody.
But she warns parents to never dilute formula or try making their own.
“Families can come together and partner with the healthcare providers, and hopefully, this will be something we put in the past,” said Dr. Moody.
If you’re having trouble finding formula, or the right one, contact your local pediatrician. For more information about the recall, click here.