Baby formula shortage: Triad parents and experts discuss what to do

North Carolina was among 28 states to report baby formula supply at or below 50%.

GREENSBORO, NC — A nationwide shortage of baby formula has new parents searching for solutions.

Our state is one of 28 with a low supply, meaning 40 to 50 percent of North Carolina’s baby formula is out of stock.

Pediatricians usually have formula samples on hand to give to families that need them but some of those doctor’s offices are out of it too.

“This is not just a shortage, it’s a crisis and we have to make sure that these babies are getting fed,” Cyerra Buck said.

Buck is a Greensboro mom, part of the constant search for baby formula.

“I have a three-month-old, it’s not always realistic to store shop and hop from store to store to try to find formula,” Buck said.

Pediatricians said even samples can be hard to find.

“Other companies and other formula representatives are telling us the companies have doubled production but because there was such a lag, there’s going to be that deficit until they can get it to market,” Lynn Klett said.

Klett is a nurse practitioner at Piedmont Pediatrics.

Buck said she’s turned to family, friends and social media to keep her son fed

“Lots of moms have said, ‘hey I have this formula. I can set it out for you if you want to do a porch pick up for it’ I’ve done that,” Buck said. “My friend has been pumping and saving a stash for us in case we need breastmilk.”

Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina discourages people from donating formula.

CEO Eric Aft said they don’t usually keep formula supplies because of the short shelf life.

Donating it during this shortage could mean taking it away from store shelves and low-income parents.

“Some parents can use various government assistance programs to access that,” Aft said. “If people are looking to purchase it to donate it, they’re actually taking it away from key locations where people are going to get it.”

Klett suggests trying liquid formula or generic versions of the name brand you buy. Liquid can be pricier and generics may be cheaper.

Dr. Brian Sumner at Carolina Pediatrics said babies over four months old may be able to start eating baby food a little early. You can always call your pediatrician if you still need help.

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