The U.S. is seeing a baby formula shortage, with many retailers having to impose limits on customer purchases. The empty shelves of formula have been an alarming sight for parents.
Alexis Laberge welcomed twin boys at just 33 weeks and three days and says having preemies comes with a lot of struggles, feeding being one of them.
“Our only options were to either just do formula through their feeding tubes or we could use donor milk or my milk through their feeding tubes,” said Laberge.
Many popular baby formula products are out of stock following a widespread recall of Abbott products in February. “With one baby you go through a ton of formula, with two babies you go through it twice as fast.” Baby formula shortages have spiked by 31% nationwide over the past month, according to Datasembly. When you finally do find it, there is a limit on how much you can get.
“So like the other day I went to a store there was a five can limit and I was like that is going to get us through three days and I need to have more than that five but I understand other families need to buy it too,” said Laberge.
In Vermont, the shortage impacted WIC, the USDA special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children.
Taylor Murray has been helping families like the Laberge’s find formula. “The shortages on the shelves have been challenging for our families. Like visiting the local grocery stores, I go once a week and check and see their inventory and then I let our families know what they have.”
Laberge wants people to know that sometimes formula is the only choice. “You have a lot of people that are like why don’t you just breastfeed it’s easier but for many people that is not an option if you have a preemie that is not an option or if you adopted.”
Another struggle families are faced with is paying for the formula. CBS News reports the average cost of the most popular baby formula products is up as much as 18% over the past year.