Baby formula shortage impacting local parents

ANSWER DESK: Baby formula shortage
Published: May. 13, 2022 at 6:23 AM EDT|Updated: May. 13, 2022 at 7:21 AM EDT
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(WFSB) - A baby formula shortage has reached a crisis.

New mothers are desperate to feed their babies, and congress is now pressing manufacturers to find a solution.

The shortage is a nationwide problem.

Friday, the House Oversight Committee in Washington started an investigation on this shortage.

In a time of crisis, moms are helping other moms.

Women all over the country are trying to feed their babies and finding formula is difficult.

“My friend called me the other day and said she just bought the last three boxes of formula,” said Chelsie Anselmo, a new mom.

Chelsie feels lucky.

She has enough formula to feed her 6-month-old Nina.

She orders a special kind of organic European formula and right now the company is honoring current customers but they are turning new ones away.

Many store shelves are bare, and some moms are trying to stretch their supplies.

“We don’t want families to water down formula because that can lead to things like salt imbalances which can cause seizures,” said Dr. Jody Terranova, Pediatrician at UConn Health.

Doctors are encouraging women to look for substitutes, and even generic brands.

Moms who need specialized formula will have an even tougher time.

The Department of Public Health runs WIC, a federal funded nutrition program for women infants and children says: “We continue to offer as many substitute formulas… We are working closely with local agency staff to help families find retailers that have in stock.”

During this crisis, moms are helping moms.

Sarah Levins, a Glastonbury mother, has extra Enfamil. She’s offering it to any mom who needs it.

“I have seen that I know people who are personally who are pumping who are breastfeeding and they have offered their frozen stash to new moms to help bridge the gap,” said Chelsie.

The shortage is due to supply chain issues and a safety recall which has shut down a major plant in Michigan.

Doctors believe this shortage is only temporary, but it could last for a couple more months.

Parents of babies should consider themselves warned that an ongoing baby formula shortage has created ripe conditions for scammers looking to make money off desperate times.

The Connecticut Better Business Bureau issued some advice this week to avoid those pitfalls.

Parents have been wondering how the shortage quickly led to empty shelves.

Experts told Channel 3 that it wasn’t just COVID-19 pandemic-related supply chain problems.

A huge recall of baby formula earlier this year made things worse.

“It’s crazy. It was like the toilet paper and the sanitizer when everybody was looking for toilet paper and sanitizer: Gone. Off the shelves,” complained Jennifer Kersey, a mother.

Bare shelves turned into a parent’s nightmare as they tried to feed the youngest and most vulnerable children.

The shortage of formula caused retailers to limit purchasing in an effort to stop panic-buying.

While federal officials have been trying to crack down on price gouging and streamline imports, they said they have been also making sure manufacturing of formula is safe at home.

An Abbott’s Nutrition facility in Michigan has been shut down for several months after a recall.

“But again, I go back to why this decision was made in the first place which was to save babies lives and the FDA is not going to approve manufacturing again unless they are certain of the safety,” said Jen Psaki, White House press secretary.

In Connecticut, numbers showed the amount of sold-out formula stock ranged between 40 and 50 percent.

Though cleaned-out stores have brought back bad memories from early in the pandemic, the Connecticut BBB warned parents that turning to online sales may not necessarily be safer.

“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been spending a lot of time online and so have the scammers,” said Kristen Johnson, CT BBB. “Online purchase scams have increased so much during the pandemic.”

For those who must by online, the BBB recommended using a credit card rather than peer-to-peer apps like PayPal, which it said should only be used for transactions with people buyers know.

Parents have been wondering how the shortage quickly led to empty shelves.
An ongoing baby formula shortage has created ripe conditions for scammers looking to make money off desperate times.