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SWFL parents concerned about baby formula shortage

The nationwide baby formula shortage has caused parents to turn to alternatives and some just don't know what to do next
Posted at 7:14 PM, May 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-19 05:42:37-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — The nationwide baby formula shortage has caused parents to turn to alternatives and some just don't know what to do next.

Natalia Diaz is the mother of a 9-month- old who sees firsthand what's happening with this shortage saying, "It’s been a battle just trying to get the milk that she needs."

Diaz says she saw the formula shortage begin months ago and get progressively worse.

"It’s much worse — I mean, the shelves are empty," she exclaimed.

And Natalia is not alone. As anyone can see walking up and down the aisles of multiple stores, the shelves are empty instead of being filled with baby formula. And Natalia has even turned to the internet.

"We look an offer upon marketplace on Facebook and see if there are any available cans," she said, "which is dangerous too, because you don’t know who you're meeting up with."

Her daughter needs a specific kind of formula and she's having to pay more than $20 for 12 ounces of formula.

Dr. Phillip Mote, a pediatrician with Lee Health, explains the shortage.

"It first had to do with a recall with Similac brand from a certain plant, probably three to four months ago, and now we’re seeing the backflow of that production."

But Mote says Florida is not as bad as other parts of the United States facing this formula shortage.

"We are a part of a national pediatrician group and I get information and updates from different cities. I would say Florida is doing a very good job as a state of production with supply. It hasn’t hit us as hard."

Dr. Mote says what parents can do to combat the shortage depends mostly on the age of the child.

"Zero to 6 months old, [you] definitely want to use formula and that’s your main source of nutrition. After that, you can have puréed food and start introducing a lot of different foods for calories so you don’t need as much formula.

"After that nine-month mark ... start introducing whole milk or 2% milk in addition of formula," he adds. "If your child is between nine and 12 months, hasn’t quite made it to the birthday but needs to take regular milk, that is something that they can do."

Dr. Mote adds there are other brands of formula that parents can try out but if you have any questions or uncertainty, it's best to call your pediatrician.