Mothers searching for baby formula during nationwide shortage

Baby formula shortages are leading to empty shelves across the county.
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 5:55 PM EDT
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WNEM) - Baby formula shortages are leading to empty shelves across the county.

Manufacturers across the country say they are producing at full capacity and making as much formula as they can, but it’s still not enough to meet demand.

Karen Knolton’s four-month-old son Calvin struggles with Pyloric Stenosis and has a severe allergy to dairy. He depends on Nutramigen, a formula specifically for babies with dairy allergies.

“We have scoured all of Michigan it feels like and yeah, it’s just been horrible,” Knolton said.

For most of Calvin’s short life, Knolton has been on the hunt for formula to feed him.

Like many families the search has been difficult.

Supply shortages and recent recalls of certain contaminated baby formula products have had a ripple effect.

“Everybody who was on ELLA Care was shifted over to another formula. And then so now this many people more are using that formula. And so, then that from that formula became like backordered,” said Susan Olguin, Saginaw county Health Department WIC coordinator.

An effect that is leaving Knolton worried that she may not find the formula she needs for Calvin.

“Knowing you know that this is something that he needs to be on. There aren’t very many other options that are going to suit him very well. It’s scary, watching our supply in the cupboard, you know, diminished with it not being replaced. It’s definitely scary feelings for a mom,” Knolton said.

According to Datasembly, a retail data collection company, the out-of-stock rate on baby formula was between 2 percent to 8 percent in the beginning of 2021.

Between last November and early April 2022, the rate jumped to 31 percent.

Knolton said if she is unable to find the specific formula her son needs, she will have to resort to giving him a product that will cause issues, just to keep him fed.