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Baby formula shortage causing problems for parents

Ochsner pediatrician Dr. Michael Wasserman says his patients’ parents are very concerned.

NEW ORLEANS — The nationwide shortage of baby formula is getting worse.

One of the four largest makers of formula, had a recall earlier this year.

And on top of that, it's harder for them to get the ingredients. Now the shortage is hitting local families too.

At nine months old, Elijah Tran is eating half baby food and half formula. And his mom and dad, Erica and Michael are down to only a half of one box of formula.

“It does make you nervous, you know, when you're down to one can thinking where's the next one going to come from,” said Erica Tran, Elijah’s mother.

They try to order it online but it's out of stock. Going to the store is not much better.

“Sam’s now has two per customer, and the last time we went, my husband got the last two on the shelf which was scary, and you feel awful for all the parents behind you who have to go see an empty shelf.” Said Tran.

“This was the last one I could find and this was actually from CVS,” said Erika Lockhart, mother of 9-month-old daughter, Finnley.

“You always say, ‘Did they fall, did they hurt themselves, what am I going to do?’ And now it's like, ‘What am I going to feed them?’” said Lockhart.

Ochsner for Children pediatrician Dr. Michael Wasserman says his patients’ parents are very concerned.

“It's a mess. It's a mess, and it's unfortunate that we've had this type of problem,” said Dr. Wasserman.

He says never give a child younger than one, cow’s milk. That can cause intestinal bleeding. Never make your own formula at home with condensed milk, or whey protein powder. The wrong mixture might not be nutritious enough, or at worst, cause kidney damage. His advice it this.

“They should switch from one formula to another formula made by a different manufacturer that's comparable. So if they're on a low allergy formula made by one company, they should switch to a low allergy formula made by a different company,” said Dr. Wasserman.

And there can be problems if your child needs a hypoallergenic formula and he or she doesn't get it.

“You're going to see the child have symptoms such as gas, vomiting, irritability, maybe problems with weight gain,” said Dr. Wasserman.

In the meantime, Erika Lockhart got lucky. The order from Amazon that was supposed to take two and a half months ti arrive, came in a few weeks early. Both she and Erica Tran say they are thankful for the support through New Orleans Mom from other mothers.

“One of the other moms on the mom blog, we were texting this morning and she said I've got a can come get it,” said Tran.

And that is helping alleviate just one of the many worries parents deal with.

Some other ways to get formula include, ask your doctor for samples, and ask friends, whose children have outgrown formula, if they have any leftovers.

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