Pediatricians help navigate formula shortage as local mom says it’s a ‘crisis’
The head of the Food and Drug Administration says concerned parents who have been struggling to find infant formula for their children should begin to see improvement "within days."
However, a local mom from Rensselaer says relief can’t come soon enough. She tells NewsChannel 13 she’s been reading the headlines about the shortage issues, and wondering – is there a finite supply, and when will that mean she can’t feed her baby?
Lawren Masters has an eight-month-old son named Oscar, who she says got sick from the dairy in her milk as an infant. She had to donate all of the milk she had pumped before changing her diet to be dairy-free.
Now she’s on the other side of things. She can no longer breastfeed for medical reasons, so her son relies on special dairy-free formula.
Masters says this is not just another supply chain shortage like the ones the public has been dealing with as a result of the pandemic.
"This isn’t toilet paper, this isn’t cream cheese, this isn’t chicken. You can’t trade it with your neighbor. This is survival of infants in America. Like, this is serious," she said. "And to see a scary situation go from scary to dire, in a snap, is terrifying. Because I don’t want to have to put him through that pain again."
There’s also concern that parents are hoarding formula. Masters says she worries for moms who rely on WIC – the federal assistance program. That means they can only get the formula from the store with WIC benefits. She’s urging moms to leave some for parents who can’t turn to social media to buy formula.
"If you see five on the shelves, take two, take three, take four but leave at least one. Share the love, spread the wealth, and keep in mind that not all moms are able to just give you 40 bucks for the extra can that you have," Masters said.
Dr. Diane Tenenbaum of Schoolhouse Pediatrics says the shortage has had patients talking over the past few days. She says she’s advising parents to check places they normally wouldn’t look for formula, like a gas station or smaller store.
Dr. Tenenbaum says her practice relies on recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which is providing guidelines and tips for families navigating the shortage.
On the other hand, Dr. Jim Saperstone of Community Care Pediatrics says he feels like the shortage has been overblown, leaving some of his patients panicking. He encouraged parents to refrain from panic-buying.
"I think we’re going to come out of this, I think everyone needs to take a deep breath, and I can reassure most parents, at least in this area, that you probably will be able to find formula," he said.
If you are a parent struggling with the shortage, or you know someone stepping up to help out, NewsChannel 13 would like to hear your story. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.