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Formula for disaster: Families struggle amid baby formula shortage

Shortages are still impacting what's on store shelves.

GOULDSBORO, Pa. — Baby formula is a part of 10-week-old Wyatt's everyday life, giving him the nutrients he needs to grow up strong and healthy.

But his mom Sarah Pirro says it's a challenge to find it.

"I remember one day I was looking for eight hours. It was like having another full-time job, honestly, trying to feed my son, and we found one can – one can in eight hours. It was insane," Pirro said.

Pirro's story is the same for parents across the country. Shortages are impacting what's on store shelves.

What makes things even more difficult for Pirro is that Wyatt has a severe dairy allergy, limiting what kind of formula he can have.

"Just crying thinking like, 'Oh, my gosh, where am I going to get my baby's food from?' And we were fortunate enough that we had family members that lived in other places that could find us the food, but what about the people that can't or don't have other resources or people to reach out to?" Pirro said. "It's just really scary."

Leila Nassar is a lactation specialist with Lehigh Valley Health Network. She says several factors have played a role in the shortage.

"We have the formula hoarding, where parents have that fear, and it's very understandable. Then, also, the shipping, which made it more difficult, and then to top it all off, it's the recall with Similac that even made it harder," said Nassar.

Nassar says if you can't find a formula, there are a few things you can try.

  • Ask your pediatrician for help. They may have samples or relationships with formula companies. 
  • Be flexible on brands, if you can. 
  • Try breastfeeding if you haven't already.

However, Nassar says there are two big no-nos when it comes to your baby's formula. 

"Don't do any shortcutting when it comes to your formula and don't do any home mixtures at home that someone may have told you to try and make a formula base for your child without calling your pediatrician always first or your family doctor," Nassar said.

With no end in sight to the shortage, Pirro remains hopeful as the exhausting search for formula continues.

Check out WNEP’s YouTube channel.  

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