INDIANA — There is growing concern over the months-long shortage of baby formula. It's a situation that can be scary and intimidating when parents are unable to get what they need to feed their babies.
The issue is also bringing central Indiana moms together to help each other out.
Westfield mom of three, Chelsea Stevens has been struggling to find the formula her twins need.
"There is nothing, there's nothing to be found anywhere," Stevens said. "It's extremely concerning, we're not necessarily rationing out because they need to eat."
Pike Township mom, Amanda Foster-Moudy has six kids. She too has been struggling to find what she needs for her son.
"We're talking about my baby's life and health and well-being and what they need to survive and that's scary," Foster-Moudy said.
The stress of trying to find the food you need for your babies can be overwhelming, and many moms are coming together to help each other out. "We're trying to help each other because our kids need to eat," Stevens said.
A Facebook group called "Indy Formula Moms" was launched to help solve the problem.
"There's not an easy solution besides us banding together," Foster-Moudy said.
In the group, moms will post what kind of formula they use, others will post pictures of the shelves showing moms what formula is available near them.
"My husband is running to three or four different stores just trying to find something," Foster-Moudy said.
It's a hunt of sorts and takes a bit of teamwork from everyone," Stevens said. "You have that mom guilt where you don't want to necessarily take it as soon as you see it on the shelf, for fear that someone else [will need it], and take more than one even, but at the same time you have to feed your babies so what are you suppose to do?"
It's important to note, switching to breastfeeding is not a solution for all families.
Babies may be on formula for a wide range of reasons.
It's also not just a simple fix, parents just can't switch to another formula.
"Your baby's body gets used to a certain formula and there might be similar that you might be able to sub for but you can't just go and pick up a different brand," Stevens said.
If you would like to add yourself to the Indy Moms Facebook group, click here.
Some parents have started making their own formula or watering down what they have.
Pediatricians say you should avoid these options at all costs.
"A lot of times those recipes have dangerous components in them, or they're not nutritionally complete for your baby. And watering down formula is definitely dangerous because it can disturb your baby's electrolytes," Dr. Janet Wes said.
President Joe Biden is stepping up his administration's response to the shortage.
Supply chain issues, along with voluntary formula recalls have cut inventory nationwide by more than 43%.
The White House said Biden spoke Thursday with executives from manufacturers Reckitt and Gerber about how they could increase production and how his administration could help.
He also talked with leaders from Walmart and Target about how to restock shelves.
"Well, we've already seen an increase in supply over the past couple of weeks. We're taking every step to increase that. So, our message to parents is we hear you. We want to do everything we can," Biden said.
Federal officials are urging states to allow families to use federal aid to buy more brands of formula.
They're also taking steps to import more formula and cracking down on price gouging.
The House Oversight Committee is also launching an investigation into the shortage.
Abbot Nutrition said it could take 10 weeks to get their products back in stores. Thei Michigan plant was shut down earlier this year after three brands of formula were recalled over bacterial contamination.
The Better Business Bureau serving central Indiana issued a warning this week about shopping online for baby formula.
Scammers are using social media posts or ads showing they have baby formula available.
The buyer contacts the sellers via chat or direct message and makes a payment through PayPal, Venmo or some other means, but the formula never arrives.
Things to look for:
- Check BBB.org
- Do Internet Search
- Take Screen Shot of Order
- Pay With Credit Card
- Think Before You Click