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Moms turn to milk banks, other options during baby formula shortage

“If he doesn't have this formula, he will reflux to the point that he stops breathing,” Sara Strider said about her 18-month-old.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The baby formula shortage continues but now, a milk bank in Cary, North Carolina is offering help to moms who need it.

Some moms are in need of help right now. Baby formula is in short supply forcing some moms to rely on breastfeeding.

The Director of Nursing at the Women and Children Center for Cone Health, Dr. Jonna Hunter, said you can try a few at-home tricks to produce more milk. These include staying hydrated, getting enough rest, adding lean proteins and eggs to your diet and most importantly reducing stress.

For the moms who still aren’t able to produce enough milk, there is a new resource to help by using donated breastmilk.

“There is a Mother's Milk Bank in Cary, North Carolina that does offer and it's just recent. Usually, it's only been offered to hospitals. We do have it here at the hospital for our mothers that are inpatients but they are now offering it to moms in the community,” Hunter said.

Dr. Hunter said this is a safe option for moms. The donors go through a very thorough process before they are able to contribute. The breast milk also goes through a pasteurization process.

“Moms are vetted very carefully, who donate so it's very safe, very safe. We use it, we use it here, so, it's very safe,” Hunter said.

But what about the moms who don’t use breast milk or have babies with allergies that only allow them to drink certain formula.

WFMY News 2’s Amber Lake caught up with two moms who have been severely impacted by this formula shortage.

Sara Strider said her son Owen was born at 32 weeks and has severe GI issues. The Striders know all too well, how a baby formula shortage can impact a family. Strider said her son refluxes to the point where he aspirates. When Owen was born, he was put in the NICU where he had to have a special formula due to food allergies.

“If he doesn't have this formula, he will reflux to the point that he stops breathing,” Strider explained.

At 18 months now, Owen has started eating some solid foods but still relies on formula. Strider said she went from paying $200 for 4 cans of formula to almost $300. Now, resorting to something else.

“We actually just in the last week, have switched over to goat's milk just because the formula is so hard to find. He's gotten so expensive,” strider said.

Another mother, Emili Wallace also feels the pain from the shortage.

“My daughter is seven months old today. And we have been breastfeeding and using formula since day one in the hospital. But at about six months of age, I just stopped producing milk,” she said.

After that, the family switched to formula completely, which has been hard to come by.

“So, I started to panic a little bit because now she was only eating formula,” Wallace said.

She said the conversations went from them asking how she was doing on diapers, to asking how she is doing on formula.

“My grandmother actually got me a can of formula for my child's Easter present. And I was like, 'This is the best Easter present I could have gotten.' So very, very stressful for everybody. It's definitely on everybody's minds thinking about our loved ones, like who needs formula and if I'm at the store, can we pick it up just in case,” Wallace said.

Her advice, talk to your pediatrician about how to get formula.

“The last time I was at the pediatrician was at our daughter's six-month appointment and our nurse came in with a bag full of formula cans and it was like Christmas, I was so excited,” Wallace explained.

Both moms, have to find out how to bridge that gap until there’s no longer a formula shortage.


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