AUSTIN, Texas — Families nationwide are struggling to find a crucial source of food they need to keep their infants fed: baby formula.
Retailers nationwide have been struggling for months to stock enough baby formula. Manufacturers say they've been making more formula than ever before and producing at full supply, but that's still not enough to meet the high demand.
"The families that have been affected the most are the families with babies who were 100% formula fed and very specifically on formulas that were specialized formulas for babies who have very sensitive guts," said Kim Updegrove, executive director at Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin.
Updegrove told KVUE that for the families in need, it is difficult to find an alternative because every formula manufacturer has been through the same supply chain interruptions.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), on Thursday, Feb. 17, three brands of powdered baby formulas were recalled due to potential bacterial infections, including salmonella. The agency advised parents not to buy or use certain batches of Similac, Alimentum and EleCare powdered infant formulas. All three brands are made by Abbott Nutrition.
"We've had families contact us over the past week, especially last weekend, who couldn't figure out any other option or couldn't access any other option for their infants. We were able to provide them with a small amount of donor human milk to get them through a few days until they could find other options for their formula fed infants," said Updegrove.
Updegrove said due to the shortage, it's led people to buy formula in bulk, fearing available formula will sell out. Mothers' Milk Bank wants to make sure when human milk is unavailable to those babies with a medical need, they can provide it.
"We also provide pasteurized, human milk to babies whose families are in a crisis when our supply allows, and we can continue to do that," said Updegrove. "This is not about people's buying habits and buying too much formula limiting what's available for others. This is about infant feeding. This is about making sure that babies are as safe and healthy as possible."
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