PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Parents of newborns are struggling to deal with a nationwide shortage of baby formula. Many are going store-to-store to try and track some down.
Customers are coming to Cousin’s Supermarket in North Philadelphia from other parts of the city because there’s a bigger supply of formula here than in many other places. The supply chain shortage and the recall by Abbott Nutrition in February are making the shortage worse. Eyewitness News talked to a pediatrician with tips for parents as the nation waits for the shortage to ease.
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Shelves are empty amid a nationwide shortage of infant formula. Supply chain snarls and Abbott Nutrition’s recall in February are contributing to the shortage. Doctors say while many parents are brand loyal, it’s safe to substitute baby’s favorite formula for a different brand. pic.twitter.com/1e6P7jymDC
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Families are having a hard time buying baby formula.
“We go to five or six stores sometimes to find it,” Devon Davito said.
Across the country, shelves are empty. Some stores limit the amount customers can buy.
According to Datasembly, 40% of baby formula products were out of stock during the week of April 24.
“There’s a lot of different types of formula that’s not available to mothers right now and it’s becoming a problem to feed their children,” said Adeeb Ibrahim, the store manager at Cousin’s Supermarket.
Ibrahim is the store manager at Cousin’s Supermarket in Philadelphia’s Norris Square neighborhood.READ MORE: Father Of 18-Year-Old Killed In Sand Collapse On Toms River Beach Shares Message Remembering Son
While shelves here appear well-stocked, the popular brands are sold out.
“I had mothers in here that were actually crying, like, ‘I gotta feed my baby,'” Ibrahim said.
Dr. Jodi Kefer from South Philadelphia Pediatrics says parents call her office daily with questions like, “Can I substitute my baby’s favorite formula with a different brand?”
“Most babies can use any formula that a mama can find,” Kefer said. “So the good news is that while we are often brand loyal or preferred, there are very few babies who need a medically prescribed or specialty formula.”
Kefer warns parents it’s not safe to water down their baby’s formula or to make their own formula.
“As is demonstrated with the recall, it’s gotta be sterile,” Kefer said. “It’s got to be packaged the right way. It’s got to be mixed just so, so doing that at home is fraught with opportunity for problems.”
Kefer also recommends checking your neighborhood drug store instead of the big chain pharmacies.MORE NEWS: Former Giants CB James Bradberry Agrees To Terms On 1-Year Deal With Philadelphia Eagles
She also suggests checking with trusted community organizations, like the WIC program, who can advise on where formula is in stock if you can’t find it alone.