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Oregon parents struggle finding baby formula in stores | News

WILLAMETE VALLEY, Ore.– New parents in Oregon are expressing frustration because they’re having trouble finding baby formula in stores.

Corvallis mother Aly Walton uses formula in conjunction with breastmilk for her baby, Annabelle.

Annabelle was born premature at 31 weeks.

Walton said NeoSure helps Annabelle because it is designed with extra calories for premature born babies.

But in recent days, she’s been struggling to find NeoSure.

“It’s been really rough,” said Walton. “We have tried several stores. There’s the Walmart on 9th Street here in Corvallis but it’s been out for almost two months. I went to the Safeway on here on Circle Blvd. here in Corvallis and managed to grab the last can.”

Walton said the recent recall on a Similac recall made this problem worse.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Abbott Nutrition recalled one lot of Similac PM 60/40 powdered formula because of possible Cronobacter contamination.

Even though NeoSure wasn’t one of the recalled formulas, Walton said it’s been often out-of-stock.

“The furthest I drove is Albany [to find NeoSure],” said Walton. “And if that source runs out, I’ll have to drive further.”

Cassie Stich is a Eugene mother who said she is afraid she will soon join the growing list of parents struggling to find formula.

She currently only feeds her newborn baby breast milk, but said her baby is spitting up some of the milk. 

“I’m not in the category where I’m looking out in the shelves but I’m just one heartbeat way,” said Stich.

Stich is currently on an elimination diet to find out what kind of food is giving her baby problems. She said she may have to resort to formula in the future as a backup.

“So then what do you do right?” said Stich. “Do you take formula away from the babies who really need it or do you just try to see how it goes and chance it?”

Both mothers said they have heard and seen the struggles parents with newborns are coping with right now.

“Even when I went to Walmart the other day, I saw a couple and you can see the frustration on their face,” said Walton. “They’re trying to find a formula but can’t find the one they need for their baby.”

At Lane County Women, Infants and Children (WIC), certifier Alisha Moore is encouraging parents and guardians to reach out.

“We can help anyone who is pregnant, anyone breastfeeding or anyone who has a child under four. So that’s not just women but it could be any guardian caring for a child,” said Moore. “Normally, we cover specific Similac formulas because we have a contract with them. However, we have been given a waiver and are covering several store brand formulas and also other alternative brand formulas to ensure our clients have the best access.”

Moore is also advising against making homemade formulas for newborns.

“We definitely don’t recommend that you try using these old recipes or recipes maybe a relative has tried in the past,” said Moore. “A baby’s needs are very specific and their nutritional needs are very specific. Formula is tightly regulated to contain the right amount of different nutrients.”

WIC also assists women with breastfeeding and helps families with other needs like housing and clothing.

The program has been providing phone call services due to the pandemic. But the office will re-open for in-person appointments and walk-in on May 2.