EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Local moms are struggling to find baby formulas for their newborns.
Abbott, one of the largest makers of baby formula, issued a recall in January. The recall, along with supply chain shortages and inflation, is leaving some store shelves bare, and moms scrambling.
“When we run out, it is scary not knowing if it’s going to be there,” said new mom Morgan Vicary of East Peoria. “We’ve switched to like three different formulas because of the shortage. They ran out of one, so we would switch to another. Then they would run out of that so we’d switch to another.”
Vicary said it’s a problem she never thought about for her five-month-old son Carter.
“It’s really scary. Being a first-time mom, it was the last thought in my head, being worried about not having formula,” she said, adding price gouging is adding to the frustration.
“When you can find formula locally, it’s up-priced. So formula we’d spend $39 on is close to $50 now…I feel like they are taking advantage of the situation. I mean, we have babies to feed. They’re trying to make a profit off it because they can,” she said.
Michelle Compton coordinates the supplemental nutritional program for women, infants and children, known as WIC, for Peoria County. She said she receives five to seven calls per week about formula shortages.
“There’s definitely some anxiety and some frustration, and even fear in some of the calls. Where am I going to find formula, and how long is this going to last?” she said.
Compton said Many moms are also getting creative.
“People are having to travel a little bit further for formula, which is really unfortunate timing with gas prices being higher now. Just calling around, taking a lot more time to find different stores that may carry their formula,” she said.
Vicary said moms are also helping other moms find formula.
“I saw a mom post recently that she was in need of a certain type of formula and she was completely out, so I did end up finding some, and I got a hold of her,” she said.
Dr. Samina Yousef, a pediatrician at OSF Medical Group in Bloomington, said about 60% of moms she sees rely on formula.
“There are multiple factors, also, environmental factors that can affect a baby’s ability or a mom’s ability to breastfeed. Once you have established that your baby is going to get formula, it’s really difficult to go back to breastfeeding because all your hormones are already gone,” she explained.
For those who cannot breastfeed, Dr. Yousef said it is okay is switch formula brands to a store version, with a caveat that it’s always best to check with your pediatrician first.
“In most instances, unless your baby is on a very selective type of formula for specific allergies, you can switch between brands, so that might be something that might alleviate some of the anxiety,” she said.
She said the American Academy of Pediatrics is suggesting people have 10 to 14 days of formula on hand.
“But not stockpile much more than that so that there isn’t a severe shortage for everybody,” she said, also warning against adding water to formula to make it last longer.
Compton said they have been working with their state vendor program and pediatricians to increase supply in the area. She said the the state has been in contact with manufacturers.
“They are trying to speed up production with manufacturers… My hope is that it is over soon,” she said.