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Parents struggling to find baby formula

A shortage of baby formula has become a nationwide problem between recalls and other issues connected to the pandemic.

GREENWOOD, Ind — Shamyra Reeves never thought she’d have a hard time finding food for her 9-month-old son, Miles.

“I’m on WIC, so there’s a certain amount of cans I can get each month,” Reeves said.

The number of cans isn’t the problem. A shortage of baby formula has become a nationwide problem. It’s a problem so severe, some retailers have been rationing supplies.

Part of the problem stems from a recall in February for Similac and other formulas.

The shortage has become increasingly difficult for moms like Reeves.

“Since the beginning of March, I have been looking for baby formula because Miles was born prematurely. So he’s on a specific brand of formula,” Reeves said.

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Reeves said Miles needs to take Similac Neosure.

“We traveled to 14 different stores in one day. Fourteen, and could not find his formula,” Reeves said.

Reeves said because Miles was a growing boy, he would go through one can in about three days.

“And the prices are just … wow! I had to pay out of pocket just to get one can, and it’s almost $40 for one can,” Reeves said.

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Reeves had to think fast. Miles was on his last can of formula. She panicked.

“I realized I was in a Facebook group, and Facebook groups are so helpful. They help with diapers, wipes, everything for free. They give good advice. It’s moms helping moms, and I love that since I’m a new mom,” Reeves said.

Reeves said a mom was able to get Miles’ formula. It’s not the specific kind she needs, but she said it’s enough for him to get by until she can find Similac Neosure again.

Abbott response to story:

We know that the recall of Abbott’s Similac infant formula has further exacerbated an industry-wide infant formula supply shortage, and we deeply regret the anxiety and impact this is having for parents, caregivers and healthcare providers. We are doing everything we can to address it. Across the U.S., we’re prioritizing production of infant formula products to help replenish the supply in the market, and also air shipping in product from our FDA-registered facility in Cootehill, Ireland, on a daily basis. All of this product is being restocked on a regular basis and in some cases, daily. We’re already starting to see this product on retail shelves. Actions we’re taking to address supply include:

• Increasing production of Similac formulas at our other FDA-registered facilities

• Bringing Similac Advance into the U.S. from an FDA-registered manufacturing site in Europe, including daily shipments by air of product

• Prioritizing some production of other Abbott liquid products to Similac and Alimentum to make more ready-to-feed liquid formula available

• Working with USDA and state agencies to provide authorization for parents who get formula from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) with other Similac products at no cost, including for other manufacturers’ products

• Contacting other manufacturers to provide information regarding supply constraints for specialty formulas so they can address the demand

• Engaging with healthcare providers to identify potential alternative formulas, whenever we can