How local moms are helping find formula

CINCINNATI — Local moms are feeling the effects of the nationwide baby formula shortage.

75% of babies are fed formula by six months, but experts say more than 40% of formulas are out of stock at 20 major retailers.

The shortage is forcing parents and caregivers to scramble to find what they need for their babies.

Mom Liza Rost first started breastfeeding in the hospital and her son, Lincoln, was a champion when it came to food.

“He’s been in the 99th percentile for height his whole life,” Rost said.

But things changed about two months when Lincoln decided he much preferred the bottle to the breast.

“So I pumped and froze all of this thinking, oh I’m going to use this someday, it’ll be awesome,” Liza said.

But another change came when Lincoln reached six months. Rost said that’s when he decided he really preferred formula to mom’s milk.

Not the ideal change during the worst formula shortage.

Rost is constantly thinking about where his son’s next bottle will come from.

“I can browse websites and see, okay, there’s one in stock,” she said. “I’m leaving right away and I’ll get him.”

Rost is one of thousands of local moms searching online and on store shelves for enough formula to get them through the week.

Now we see these moms coming together on a Facebook page, “In stock for baby formula in the Cincinnati area.”

It was created for moms to share what’s in stock at local stores on any given day.

Some photos show that the Costco in Springdale has Enfamil or the Kroger in Fairfield has Similac.

It’s a way for moms to save others a trip. Some tell us they visit 10-12 stores a day for their formula research.

It’s kind of like an army of moms, women trying to make sure everyone has enough to feed their babies.

Rost also does his part to share.

“I found myself going down in our freezer and realized we had 450 ounces of breast milk that we weren’t going to use,” she said.

She posted an offer to donate her hard-earned breast milk on social media.

“In 10 minutes it was gone,” Rost said.

A local mother with a newborn stopped by her home in Norwood to collect breast milk.

Although healthcare professionals do not recommend or encourage informal milk sharing in this manner, it is understood that mothers will do all they can to keep their children safe and nourished.

There is a tri-state milk sharing network as well.

Experts warn that buying and selling breast milk can also be dangerous.

If you are going to take a stranger’s breast milk, do your homework to learn about their diet and any medications that may impact their donated milk.

The mom formula is another great resource for parents. She offers a guide to finding similar formulas when yours is out of stock.

She also offers tips, like using a food scale to measure powdered formula to make sure you don’t overload the spoons.

Doctors warn never to dilute formula or “stretch” it to make more than you expect.

If you still can’t find a formula for your child, contact their pediatrician.

Experts say checking with your local pharmacy and smaller stores may be a better way to find formula than at big box retailers.

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