/Formula shortage is ‘scary’ for Mississippi mothers

Formula shortage is ‘scary’ for Mississippi mothers

Mississippi has the lowest rate of breastfeeding and is experiencing a severe shortage of formulas. Social media is being used by parents to exchange formulas and to post information about products in stock at local stores. Some mothers are trying to re-start breastfeeding, which can be difficult and time-consuming. Doctors have warned about homemade formula. One reason for the shortage of formula is supply-chain problems related to the COVID-19 epidemic. The shortage is a result of manufacturers not being able to get certain ingredients and labor problems affecting distribution. A recent recall of three major brands of baby formula by Abbott Nutrition has exacerbated the problem. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration probe found that there was bacterial contamination at an Abbott facility in Sturgis. Two babies died and four others were admitted to hospital. According to Datasembly’s analysis of baby formula stock at over 11,000 stores, 31% of top-selling baby products were out of stock at retailers across the nation in April. The national out-of stock levels for baby formula was at 11% in November. Lauren Bolsinger and her husband struggled to find formula for their seven-month-old daughter, Vivianne. They visited 10 stores at once in one day, but only found one can. Due to the shortage, they switched formulas twice and now use a generic Walmart brand which upsets their baby’s stomach. Bolsinger, a Madison resident, stated that they go to multiple stores every day hoping for restocking, but that the stock is out. Ashlee Wallace, a Brandon resident, has had difficulty finding the formula her seven-month-old son requires due to a cow’s milk protein allergy. Wallace stated that it was scary to think about. What happens if it’s not possible? Bolsinger knows other moms who have been in similar situations. Bolsinger once met a young mother who was upset that the store did not have the right formula. She told the mom that she had visited five stores in her quest for the formula her baby needed due to allergies. Bolsinger stated that a mom shouldn’t worry about being able to obtain formula for her baby. According to Nell Blakely, a retired lactation consultant from Brandon, some mothers who used formula to breastfeed are trying to resume breastfeeding. Blakely also runs a Facebook support group to help breastfeeding mothers. According to her, she receives an average of two questions per day from mothers looking for assistance with relactation. Blakely has helped them with this difficult process, but only with limited success. The mother can let her baby use her breasts as a pacifier. This encourages her body to produce milk. You can also use a breast pump 10-12 times per day in small increments. Blakely stated that while it’s possible, it can be difficult. For mothers who receive government assistance, it can be difficult to find the right formula. Unless an infant is granted an exemption by a medical doctor, the WIC only covers four types of formula. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, WIC was used by 84,000 Mississippi children and women in 2018. WIC centers advise parents who are unable to find formula to contact their doctors and inquire about direct shipping from manufacturers. If breastfeeding is not an option Liz Sharlot, director of communications, Mississippi Department of Health. The president of The Mississippi Chapter of The American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Anita Henderson said that her clinic has received many calls over the past few weeks from worried moms who are having difficulty finding the formula they need. “We encourage them to look in other stores because smaller pharmacies or grocery stores might get restocked faster, or be used less often than large chains like Walmart.” Health departments and doctors have warned against parents making their own formulas at home. Henderson stated that babies need the right nutrients in the right amounts and at the right concentrations. Parents can’t guarantee this if they make it. Henderson said that it is important for parents to not dilute the formula in order to prolong their supply. This not only reduces the nutritional value, but can also cause water intoxication in babies which can lead to serious health problems such as seizures. Parents are being asked by health officials not to keep formula in their homes after they find it. The COVID-19 pandemic caused supply chain shortages that made it difficult to find toilet paper and hand sanitizer, which led to hoarding. Henderson stated that Henderson was aware of the fact there are many parents out there who want their babies to be fed. Large multi-person hunts have been necessary to find the formulas due to the shortage. Many moms use Facebook groups to ask where they can get a particular formula. Others alert the group when they find it. Gina Lovette, a Hernando mom, says that the search for formula has become “gamified in an unhealthy way.” The group chat is where she and other moms share their discoveries, trade cans, and discuss what brands they are looking for. Lovette stated that moms are aware of the need to support each other but that it is absurd to have to do so.