Flint mother pays it forward after receiving formula donation

A mother in Flint has donated over 1,000 ounces of breastmilk through a local nonprofit.
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 9:25 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) - A Flint mother of four is counting her blessings amid the ongoing baby formula shortage while passing on some blessings to other families as well.

Hospitalizations related to lack of formula for babies with special nutritional needs have been reported in Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia. No hospitals in the mid-Michigan area have confirmed any hospitalizations due to the shortage.

Ashley Strozier’s eight-month-old daughter Briella spent 85 days in the NICU at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor. She was born at just 25 weeks. Briella is fed with ready to use Enfamil NeuroPro Enfacare for premature babies.

“Sometimes it’s still a surreal moment. You go through a lot of mental flashbacks that cause you to be thankful,” Strozier said.

Briella was sent home the weekend after Thanksgiving on a blended mix of breastmilk and specialty formula. Shortly after that her mother started battling an illness.

“I recently had surgery in January and because of the recovery process and being on certain medications I wasn’t able to produce as much breast milk and it became a struggle on top of trying to figure out day to day life, managing four children. It’s a lot, and my body has been through a lot,” Strozier said.

Last weekend was the first time the formula shortage really hit home for her. She could not find the kind she needed anywhere in Genesee County.

With the help of a Facebook post, she started to get tips and traveled south to Ann Arbor where she was told the formula was in stock, but just saw empty shelves...until she stumbled across the formula in Ypsilanti.

“After maybe at that point going to nine or ten stores, I was able to find the equivalent to the Enfamil that she takes, which is the Similac Neosure,” Ashley Strozier said.

She bought all of the specialty formula she could but left a couple for other parents. She did not know her Facebook post was still being shared.

STORY: Flint mother pays it forward after receiving formula donation

“A very nice lady, we’re going to call her Facebook Auntie Vicki...she inboxed me and said, ‘Hey, I’m in Flushing. let’s do a meetup at Walgreens, and she gave me 12 or 13 cans of formula, but I had just bought 9 or ten, maybe 11, bottles so I’m okay for right now,” Ashley Strozier said.

That’s why she decided to pay it forward. Strozier is donating the milk that she was given to other babies coming home from the NICU, an experience she is very familiar with. One in mid-Michigan and a set of twins in Alabama.

“I’m dividing those 12 cans between those three newborn babies that are going home because we have enough to get us through maybe the next two or three weeks. But those cans need to go to little babies. I think Briella agrees,” Ashley Strozier said.

Friday the second-largest manufacturer of baby formula sold in the United States said it has increased production 35-percent.

Reckitt is the maker of popular brands such as Enfamil and Nutramigen. The company said the effort started at the time of the recall of its competitor Abbott’s products in February.

To meet the demand, Reckitt has given its manufacturing employees unlimited overtime.