The Food and Drug Administration released a report on Sept. 20 that identified some of the causes behind the shortage, including a lack of emergency response for multiple public health emergencies, a major formula manufacturer recall, an outdated system for collecting data and supply chain issues.
Kimberly Gomez’ six-month-old baby, Josiah, like countless infants around the country, faces severe pain on a daily basis because his family can’t access the hypoallergenic formula he needs.
“His face was just bleeding. I couldn’t get it to stop. His elbows were bleeding. It was just horrible. It looked like he got mauled by a tiger. He was crying all the time- constant fussiness, screaming, itchy. You could just tell his body was on fire,” said Gomez.
His mother said it seems like some of the most common formulas have been restocked over the past few months, but specialized formulas, like those tailored toward sensitive skin and stomachs, are still difficult to find.
On top of Josiah’s worsening skin condition, Gomez said she has already spent hundreds of dollars on formulas and creams that don’t work.
“When you see that your son isn’t happy, his skin is not healthy, he’s not gaining weight; when you’re constantly at the pediatrician’s office, it’s frustrating,” said Gomnez. “It’s such a helpless feeling. I feel guilty that I can’t make him better sometimes.”
Not to mention, inflation has raised the prices on baby products, making it especially difficult on low-income families. WIC benefits only take parents so far, one mom shared with EverythingLubbock.com.
“WIC only gave me 19 bottles for the month, but he [drinks] a bottle every day. So, I’m still having to buy formula because, obviously, the 19 bottles doesn’t cover him for the month,” Gomez explained.
At a loss, she joined a Facebook group called ‘Lubbock Baby Formula‘ where people post pictures of shelves around town.
“It’s probably been the most helpful resource that we’ve had during the shortage — to not have to drive around to five [or] 10 different stores looking for what you need,” said the group’s founder Leah Jaushlin.
If you are struggling to find formula, Jaushlin suggested contacting your child’s pediatrician first.
“They do have vendors through the pediatrician and can order, if they need to, sample cans. Secondly, I would say reach out to the food bank. They seem to have a steady supply of some of the formulas that we’re seeing on the shelves, but also that are still a part of the shortage pretty heavily,” said Jaushlin.
The founder also encouraged to reach out to the WIC office.