Foster Mom Down to 2 Weeks Worth of Formula, Fears Parents Are 'Hoarding' amid Nationwide Shortage

·2 min read
baby formula
baby formula

baby formula

Foster parents are among many who have been scrambling for products amid the nationwide baby formula shortage. Despite President Joe Biden announcing this week that he is "invoking" the Defense Production Act in an effort to improve formula production in the U.S., parents have few options to feed their babies until shelves are restocked.

One foster mom tells PEOPLE that her 6-month-old baby requires a specialty formula and her current supply is running low as the shortage continues.

"We buy Enfamil A.R. At the beginning of the shortage, we could find the formula on shelves. Now it's completely gone," says the mother, whose identity is being kept private as her adoption is pending. "We have enough for about two weeks."

"If we can't find our usual formula, our pediatrician recommended calling their office to figure out the proper mixture for our baby's nutritional needs," she adds. "Then, prior to feeding, offering a small amount of infant rice cereal to help with spit up."

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Baby boy drinking milk at feeding bottle
Baby boy drinking milk at feeding bottle

Miguel Sanz/Getty

As a foster mom, she says her local department of family and children hasn't been able to offer the family any leads or suggestions. Meanwhile, her baby's pediatrician has little left to provide.

"Our pediatrician was able to give us a 1-2 day supply of our formula, but cautioned that they're not sure how long their own supplies will last," she explains.

The nationwide baby formula shortage is worsening each day with new data by Datasembly showing the national out-of-stock rate hit a high of 43 percent for the first week of May.

While the shortages of some formulas first emerged late last year, amid the pandemic, they've worsened in recent months due to challenges with the supply chain, product recalls by some American manufacturers and inflation.

RELATED: Moms Turn to Social Media, Drive Miles for Products amid Baby Formula Shortage: 'It's Very, Very Scary'

In March, Abbott Nutrition's powdered baby formula was recalled due to possible contamination of cronobacter and salmonella. The recall led to several retailers limiting customer purchases as panicked families attempted to stock up.

"I'm concerned that the public has reached the 'panic buying' stage," the foster mom tells PEOPLE. "Hoarding formula will only make the situation last longer — although I understand the very real fear of having a baby that you're unable to feed."

Earlier this month, Dr. Bridget Young, a pediatrician specializing in infant nutrition, spoke to PEOPLE and urged parents to leave specialty formulas for those children who truly need them, including babies with allergies or severe digestion issues.

"If your baby does not need a specialty product, like hypoallergenic or amino acid products, please leave those on the shelves for the infants that really do need them because those infants have much fewer options," Young said. Though options seem scarce, pediatricians are offering tips and alternatives for parents struggling to feed their children.