The Formula Shortage: An Orlando Mom’s Formula Search Story

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In a country that boasts abundance and excess, we shouldnt have to be worried about feeding our children. Yet somehow we are here, facing a formula shortage. Here is one Orlando Mom’s formula search story…

Meet Shannon, a mom of an 8 month old and 2.5 year old

I welcomed my son at 36 weeks via c-section in November 2021. He was only 4 pounds, 15 ounces and would go on to spend 49 days in the NICU at Winnie Palmer.

Throughout his stay in the NICU, the medical staff tried him with my breastmilk and several formulas to see what could keep his blood sugar at a normal rate and stop his bloody stools.

They finally found that he was able to tolerate- Similac Alimentum.

 

When he first came home in early February, we were instructed to mix the powder Alimentum as “high calorie” (so an additional scoop for every 8oz).

On February 17, 2022 his powder formula got recalled.

As a new mom, there was already the stress of making sure my 3 month old NICU baby was going to be OK at home without the supervision of doctors but the news of the recall just added to that. His pediatrician advised us to try the Enfamil equivalent, Nutramigen, however after a few neon green stools we realized he was not taking it well. 

Another call to the pediatrician led us to the Ready-to-Feed Alimentum Liquid and, although more expensive than the powder, he was able to stomach that. We had been able to find the RTF bottles in store and on Amazon but of course we noticed the shelves were not as full due to the Similac recall. 

At the end of June 2022, Similac Alimentum liquid was not on Amazon or any local shelves. My childs father had visited more than 10 stores and only came back with 2 bottles.

It was like it had disappeared. I was now facing the formula shortage. 

Desperate times call for desperate measures

I took to social media to get my family and friends assistance to search for my sons formula. My cousin in Canada was able to find 12 bottles after searching 4 different stores. I also joined a few mom groups and buy/sell/trade formula groups. 

I met a complete stranger (but fellow mom) in Washington state that was willing to send me 6 bottles. The whole transaction of even connecting with a complete stranger for a means of feeding your child just seems so shady. 

How can you trust that they will come through? 

And then this happened…..

I was personally scammed by someone claiming to be a grandmother that had my sons formula after buying extra for their grandson. 

I was instructed to send money to their Venmo account and once the money was sent, they gave me a bogus USPS tracking number, and I never heard from them again. 

I am thankful that it wasnt a significant amount of money and I was able to dispute the transaction with my bank.

There are moms I have connected with that have lost hundreds of dollars

Many of these moms feel alone and hopeless during this crisis. After chatting with one mom that got scammed, she mentioned now I have no money and no formula for my baby.”

I was not okay after reading that and wondered many other moms are out there silently suffering.

The lack of support we are facing

Similac has failed to provide a good explanation as to why this suddenly ran out. More so, they have failed to provide detailed updates on what will be in stock and when. This only adds to the stress of trying to get your babies to adjust to a new formula or using all your resources to find the formula… resources that are already stretched thin due to the current economic climate.

If youre a woman in America today AND a mom, Im surprised if you arent frustrated. This whole ordeal just shines a light on the lack of support available for mothers, especially those who dont have the proverbial village it takes to raise a child. 

Yes, moms are resilient but this formula shortage is an added unnecessary stressor. Give us mental health resources we can use to help us cope and navigate this crisis.

Improve the financial resources provided to us so we can bounce back from a failed formula purchase. Give us clear answers as to why this happened and what is being done to stop this from continuing. 

Please… we just want to feed our children.

~Shannon Bonardy

Frustrated woman & mom of 8 month old and 2.5 year old

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