ST. LOUIS — St. Louis-area moms have banded together on Facebook in search of baby formula amid the worsening national shortage.
President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that his administration will invoke the Defense Production Act to help families struggling to find baby formula by calling on manufacturers to prioritize formula production.
The White House also authorized the use commercial planes to fly overseas to bring formula to the U.S.
This comes two days after the FDA reached a deal with Abbott to restart production at its Michigan plant after its recall in February.
It could take eight to 10 weeks before the product reaches stores, but it’s too little too late for many parents who have gone above and beyond desperately searching for their child.
“We’re at a point where we’re down to my last two cans of formula,” said Eureka mother Bridget Eshelman.
Bridget Eshelman’s son, Cade, is 3 1/2 months old.
He has gastrointestinal issues, which means his specialized formula is harder to find.
“You’re going to places asking when’s your next shipment,” said Eshelman, “I just never thought I’d be in this position, I never thought id be in a place if im going to have the food to feed my baby.
As a working mom, Bridget relies on friends and family to spot their brand, even calling on loved ones in Canada.
“I have a a full-time job and I’m a full time mom,” said Eshelman. “Aned now on top of that, I’m having to check on Facebook every hour to see whose posted pictures of what’s available. And before you even get off work, you find out that the shelves are already empty.”
Recently, she added a local Facebook group called St. Louis Formula Swap to her search party.
“I just had a mom private message me today, and she said I actually have two cans of this formula if you want to come and get it,” said Eshelman.
Created only two weeks ago, St. Louis Formula Swap has become a hit going viral in just a matter of weeks with over 1,400 members and growing. But be aware, the Better Business Bureau has issued a warning about online scammers taking advantage of those just trying to help one another.
According to BBB, more than 4,000 online purchase scams have been reported this year. They detail how many scammers will post pictures claiming to sell formula, and once purchased, it never arrives.
“I thought if I’m having this issue, there’s going to other people in my area that are having just as hard of a time and maybe we can connect,” said Joanna Busby, the creator of St. Louis Formula Swap.
One post, dubbed “Show me the shelves,” is a big hit giving moms a real-time look at stores nearby by sharing pictures and locations of the stores.
“I pin it at the top every single day, and that’s where all the people post their pictures that day,” said Busby. “I unpin it the next day and then I have a new one in the morning.”
It’s helped moms like Lexi Schaeffler who after trying multiple formula brands for her 4-month-old son, Bernard. She and her husband found the right one that didn’t upset his stomach.
“My child was tongue tied,” said Schaeffler. “We could not physically breastfeed.”
Now, she uses the Facebook group to connect with other mothers, giving away formula samples to those in the group.
“Scalping baby formula in a time we’re talking about children’s lives on the line is the most wrong thing ever heard of,” said Schaeffler.
Doctors warn against making your own formula or diluting the ones you have. Parents are advised to talk to their pediatrician about the best solution for their child’s diet and specific needs.