Families search for substitutes to baby formula amid national shortage

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- You can check the shelves at the supermarket for infant baby formula, but you may be out of luck.

Shortage woes continue across the U.S. Some parents face desperate attempts to feed their hungry babies, like finding formula alternatives.

Health professionals say some families are giving their babies whole milk and goat’s milk as substitutes for their infants.

But, the chief concern is making sure they get proper nutrition

The one question on many parent’s lips is, will my child be okay?

Parents across the country are scouring store shelves in search of a scarce commodity – baby formula.

Dr. Calvin French is a Nurse Practitioner with Children’s Health Center in Columbus.

He saidfrom not having enough formula to not having the right formula, newborns receiving limited nutrition is alarming.

“Some babies are born with they may not be able to take the different formula that you can to the store and pick up. It may be a specialized formula, ” said French.

Just this week in Memphis, Tennessee two babies were admitted to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital due to the formula shortage.

“You just cant switch them to another formula, they actually have to stay on that particular formula. If they don’t, then it becomes life-threatening for them,” said French.

Some parents are turning to the dairy section..

” They are deficient in certain types of vitamins and stuff that we need, ” said French.

If you look on the label of whole milk, you’ll see this…

Iron is only 0.1%, Vitamin D 15%, and calcium is 20%.

“For most formulas, the iron is 45% . The first year of life is where kids kind of need that iron. It’s not only the iron that they need. There’s a lot of more nutrients that they need. They have bone growth, brain growth, and the kidneys are forming and everything,” said French.

Government leaders are forming a plan to get formula back on the shelves.

Today, the Biden Administration highlighted its intentions to make sure rural areas are supplied with formula.

Liz Sharlot, Communications Director of Mississippi State Department of Health made a statement to WCBI.

” While participants of the Women, Infants, and Children’s Nutrition Program now obtain formula from signed up vendors like grocery stores and pharmacies, the WIC staff is in communication with manufacturing and wholesalers to learn more about where shortages exist. MS WIC met with USDA on Friday to determine options and develop a plan of action,” said Sharlot.

Until then, parents should consult with their pediatricians for advice on how best to feed your infant.

Biden Administration officials said the USDA website lists which states have WIC waivers available.

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