NEW YORK (PIX11) — Mothers across the country are being forced to scramble from grocery store to grocery store, searching for formula to feed their babies.
Supply disruptions and recalls on major brands of formula have led to a nationwide shortage, leaving shelves empty and mothers with one question: “What do I do now?”
According to the CDC, by 6 months of age, 75% of babies receive some form of formula.
FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf told lawmakers on Thursday that it will likely take until July before the issue is truly resolved.
PIX11 spoke with Dr. Dyan Hes, an NYC-based pediatrician, and LaNeda Mondesir, the executive director of the Harding Ford Vision Baby Program, on what parents can do to help their young ones during the ongoing shortage. Watch the full interview HERE.
Here’s what Dr. Dyan Hes, founder of Gramercy Pediatrics had to say.
Q: If a baby is under six months and in need of formula, what can parents do?
A: Be flexible! Parents tend to be very fixated on a specific brand but the majority of babies can tolerate most generic formulas. Keep on top of the current supply by logging onto big-box stores’ websites such as Costco or Walmart to see what’s in stock.
Q: What are some of the alternatives mothers can use for formula for babies under six months and over six months?
A: For babies over six months, mothers that are struggling to find formula may feed their child cow’s milk along with a supplement vitamin. Another alternative parents may use for children over six months is increasing their child’s intake of solids such as cereals, yogurts, peas, and eggs. You may also use toddler formula for children nine months and older. There are no recommended alternatives to formula for babies under six months of age. If you’re completely out of formula, call your doctor, local pharmacies, and outreach programs.
Q: Is it safe for moms to create their own formula? Why or why not?
A: No. Creating your own formula will not give your baby the necessary amounts of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates that they need to survive. In extreme cases, incorrect formula ratios may even lead to seizures, salt poisoning, and in less likely cases, even death.
Q: Can moms who are breastfeeding and have excess milk share with moms who cannot breastfeed?
A: Although the traditional way of distributing excess breast milk is through a milk bank, as long as the mother is healthy and not on any medicine that could affect the baby, it is OK to share your surplus directly with other mothers in need.
While the baby formula shortage is affecting parents across the nation, in New York City dozens of Queens parents have come to rely on a monthly distribution of diapers and other baby essentials including formula from the Harding Ford Vision program in Jamaica.
Here’s what Executive Director of the Harding Ford Vision Baby Program, LaNeda Mondesir, had to say.
Q: With the current shortage, how are you helping parents get formula?
LaNeda: We have been reaching out to our partners for donations. We’ve recently reached out to our district leader Adrienne Adams, and she was able to connect us to an organization that should be able to help provide us with what we need to combat the shortage.
Q: When and where do distributions take place?
LaNeda: Our distributions take place at The Harding Ford Vision Inc at 157-22 Tuskegee Airmen Way in Jamaica, NY 11433. Our next Baby Program is June 20th 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m for newborns up until age 3.
Q: For people that want to help contribute to the Harding Ford Baby Vision program, how can they?
LaNeda: We accept donations via mail or by PayPal. Anyone interest can also donate their time by reaching out to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.