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Kansas moms challenged as nation’s baby formula shortage worsens

An ongoing shortage is continuing to present a major challenge for mothers in need of formula to feed their babies.
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 7:35 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - An ongoing shortage is continuing to present a major challenge for mothers in need of formula to feed their babies.

Datasembly, which tracks baby formula stock at more than 11,000 stores, two weeks ago at 40 percent of the top-selling baby formula products were out of stock.

In Wichita, Skyler Richardson is among the mothers struggling with the formula shortage. She said her baby daughter, Emaleah at four months old, transitioned from breastfeeding to formula. But now, she can’t find her original brand.

“We tried finding Similac, there was none,” Richardson said. “The whole shelves were cleared out. So, I went to a couple of different (places). Tried Walgreens, there was nothing. So, luckily, WIC (the Women Infants and Children program) was able to give me benefits for Enfamil, which I’ve had an easier time finding Enfamil than Similac.”

In February, Similac issued a powder formula recall. The baby-formula maker’s parent company said it was due to an infant who had eaten Similac dying from an infection.

“The formula is not plentiful as it was, just because the shortages related to the Cronobacter infection with the Similac. (This) created more of a demand on some of the other formulas that manufacturers weren’t prepared for,” Sedgwick County Health Director Adrienne Byrne explained.

The WIC program in Sedgwick County urges parents to plan to avoid disappointment.

“Go ahead and call that grocery store before going to find out if they do have that formula in stock,” Byrne said. “And so, on our website, we have important information as far as not diluting to make it last longer.”

WIC serves thousands of families like Richardson’s, families that are worried over the lack of product on shelves.

“Hopefully they can get some out soon and quickly,” Richardson said.

For the Kansas WIC approved substitution list, click here.

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