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SWFL families continue to feel effects of baby formula shortage

Posted at 10:38 PM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-17 06:22:23-04

NAPLES, Fla. — It's been affecting families all over the country for months. Parents are beginning to panic, as a nationwide baby formula shortage continues to worsen.

Pediatrician David Butler, like many across Southwest Florida, says he has heard the ask for help, "Definitely very scary, I’ve had a few frantic parents," Butler said.

Samantha Gomez, a stay-at-home mom, and businesswoman from Naples ask the question, "what do we do now, I can’t get it from amazon and when you google their website they only outsource amazon and target."

Gomez, a busy mother of a four-and-a-half-year-old, a nine-month-old, and one on the way says like many parents and grandparents across Southwest Florida, she too is struggling to find the formula.

"I’m a little scared that if he’s only two months and wants formula or wants a bottle," Gomez added she doesn't know how long she would be able to breastfeed her third child.

Now, even a Facebook page, SWFL Kids & Babies with the hashtag #SWFLFormulaShortage, shows Gomez is not alone.

Parents of the Facebook group use the hashtag to alert other families and grandparents in the area of who may have an extra formula, what stores are low, and when stores are restocked.

"Let's face it making sure your baby has all the nutrients your baby needs is very important," Victor Claar, an associate professor of economics at Florida Gulf Coat University said.

He also understands a family's sense of urgency to find food for their baby but says parents need to be aware or over-buying in a panic.

"Because infant formula doesn't have an infinite shelf life and they may discover they've spent hundreds of dollars more on formula than they needed to because they couldn't use it all."

In the meantime, Butler says for parents not to panic, "We’re all here to help, reach out," and to explore options, "I have a lot of parents that think they need one specific formula and we say try these others, even if they are other brands.

While switching formulas can be difficult, Butler says to always consult with your child's doctor and they can guide you to the best and healthiest decision for your child.

In the meantime, Gomez says she'll continue to explore any and all options, "I was looking for a formula company that was online that I could strictly get the formula, I didn’t care the price.

But, there are other ways to have just a little bit more. Butler says it's important to not overfeed your child, while it may sound obvious, he says trying different amounts and seeing how your baby reacts can help you save just a little more formula, which can add up over time.