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Lactation consultant weighs in after infant formula recalls leave parents searching for supplies

Families are scrambling to find a critical source of food to keep their children fed baby formula.

BEAUMONT, Texas — Workers have pulled another powdered formula from Abbott Nutrition from store shelves, and parents are in a panic after a handful of babies have gotten sick and at least two died.

Families are scrambling to find a critical source of food to keep their children fed baby formula. First, it was nationwide shortages keeping some shelves completely empty. Now it’s a recall on formula that sent five babies to the hospital, two of which have died.

RELATED: Abbott recalls more Similac formula after second baby dies

RELATED: FDA: Do not use recalled infant formulas tied to infections

Stores nationwide are struggling to keep baby formula on their shelves.

H-E-B & Walmart have started limiting how much formula families can buy.

“She had asked her mother to go to the grocery store to pick up the formula she was using in the hospital, and her mother wasn't able to locate any of that formula. If there's no formula, then we are somewhat limited on what we can recommend,” said lactation consultant Kara Michael.

Then, there was another punch to the gut. A recall on Similac pm 60/40, Alimentum, and Elecare products made by Abbott Nutrition were recalled last Thursday due to potential bacterial infections including salmonella.

“Babies on those formulas, that's a prescription from your pediatrician because you tried other formulas and they're not working with your baby's digestive tract, and your baby's not tolerating it for whatever reason,” Michael said.

Parents tell 12News they've had to visit their doctor's office or cross state lines to find formula.

Even finding regular formula has become difficult and more expensive.

A can ranges anywhere from $12 to $40.

“As a parent, you want to be able to feed your child and when you feel like you can't because of things out of your control, that's just really scary,” Michael said.

Abbott Nutrition states on their website all formula on recall was manufactured in the Sturgis, Michigan facility where cronobacter was found in non-product contact areas, and they have not sent out any more cans from that plant. The company also told 12news in an email that "all infant formula products are tested for cronobacter sakazakii, Salmonella, and other pathogens. And they must test negative before any product is released." 

As for the recalled product, Abbott Nutrition said the products they tested were negative for the pathogens.

You should get rid of the recalled cans.

Moving forward, experts suggest boiling water before you mix it with formula.

“The process of mixing it with boiling water helps it get rid of those contaminants,” Michael said. 

Boil enough water for a full day of eating you can store the prepared bottles in the fridge for up to 24hrs.

MORE | How you can join 'Moms Offering Moms Support' Group

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

  • Wic program helps low-income families: Texaswic.org
  • Breast pumps are provided by local hospitals for free through insurance or Medicaid during early postpartum period
  • Medical Center of Southeast Texas offers in-person breastfeeding classes every second Tuesday of the month 6-8 p.m. Spanish every third Tuesday of the month 6-8 p.m.
  • Anyone in need of Mothers Milk Bank of Austin services will need a prescription from pediatrician Milkbank.org

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