Mothers speak out, share fears and struggles following formula shortage
BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) - “I never imagined like, when I open this can, am I going to be able to find another can?”
“I don’t know what to do. He has to eat.”
“To listen to your baby cry...sorry, it’s just very upsetting.”
“It consumes you. I worry about it at work; I worry about it at home.”
“To know that he has to deal with stomach issues until he has to get fed again...”
“It’s terrifying because we are to a point now where the shelves are staying empty.”
“Is my baby going to live?”
These are some of the comments made by the more than a dozen mothers who spoke to WVVA about their struggles with the ongoing formula shortage. It has been months since the Abbott formula recall, and, still, shelves remain empty. At first, moms buckled down and waited for the shortage to pass, but it’s been weeks, and now their hope has turned to panic as they fight to feed their babies.
These women have spent nearly every day since the February recall desperately searching for formula.
“I calculate how long it’ll take to use the can of formula- how long I have till I can get the next one,” said Heather Epperly, a mother of a five-month-old daughter.
With most sensitive formula options sold out, moms have been forced to switch their child’s formula multiple times. They say this is creating uncomfortable side effects.
One mom says she feels defeated and is worried about her baby’s health.
“Quite a few of the formulas upset his stomach a lot,” Autumn Holstein said of her two-month-old son. “He has to have the formula, so some of them has really made him spit up a lot more.”
These mothers have traveled to different counties and even different states in search of formula. After 12-hour workdays, they spend their evenings in every grocery store they can find. They scour the internet looking for extra cans. Some are even considering making formula at home.
“We live in a constant state of fear of, ‘When is the next time I’m going to be able to find a can of formula that my baby can handle?’” Epperly explained.
“We spend hours and hours driving to like other Walmarts and CVS’s and Krogers and Walgreens and even Dollar Generals,” Hailey Dolbow, mother of a two-month-old son, added. “Just looking for formula to feed my kid.”
While their stories vary, these mothers agree that they never imagined something like this could ever happen.
On May 13, Abbott released a statement saying their current priority is to get formula back on the shelves. The company says they are working to restart production at their Sturgis, Michigan plant and could potentially have the site up and running by the end of the month.
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