Pediatrician offers tips as baby formula shortage sends parents into panic

Reports show that 40% of the most popular brands are sold out

ROANOKE, Va. – For months, parents have been struggling to find formula for their children.

Reports show that 40% of the most popular brands are sold out.

The bare shelves are sending parents into a frenzy but a Carilion Clinic pediatrician has some words of advice.

Crystal Freeman lives in Blacksburg but has traveled from Giles County to Pulaski to find anything for her eighth-month-old son, Declan.

“It’s rough and I don’t know it’s just hard all the way around,” Freeman said.

Even when Freeman gets lucky and finds the right can of formula, she sometimes has to put it right back.

[Can’t find your baby’s formula? Here’s what you should (and shouldn’t) do]

As a WIC recipient, there are limitations to which sizes of formula products WIC will cover.

“That’s the rough part if you see it and you know you don’t have the money for it. It just got to stay there.”

Online shopping is not the best option because she keeps seeing the words “sold out.”

CVS is her best bet. But recently, CVS announced they are limiting customers to only buying three baby formula products.

Freeman said can cost her family about $25 to $30. But Declan drinks it up in just one week.

“Having to buy the formula out of pocket... It’s been rough,” she said. “Hectic. Overwhelming.”

Virginia WIC created a list of temporary substitutions to help guide parents.

Carilion Children’s Section Chief General Pediatric Christopher Pierce warns families to be careful about introducing other types of milk because it can affect babies’ digestive systems.

But the main message he has for parents is to not water down the formula.

“This is not just a lack of weight gain but just electrolyte imbalances,” he said. “The classic story is overfeeding water to infants can even drive them into seizures.”

Pierce recommends talking to your baby’s primary care provider to find out what options are best for your child.


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Alexus joined 10 News in October 2020.