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Omaha mothers struggle to find baby formula amidst shortage: 'It causes sleepless nights'

Posted at 6:54 PM, Apr 27, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Around Omaha and the country, there is a shortage of baby formula. Supply chain issues and a recent national recall of Similac have dwindled supplies. Some stores like Walgreens have limits on how much formula a customer buys.

Visiting four different stores, driving greater distances or asking relatives for help are some of the measures mothers like Madden Thayer take to get formula.

"You get anxious, you're anxious about not finding what your baby needs," Thayer said.

It's similar to Jolene Knutzen's story, a mother who pumps for three other babies providing thousands of ounces of breast milk. Moms are reaching out and asking her to prolong her pumping due to the shortage.

"Some of us pump every three hours and so — providing for other people's babies beyond our own — I'm just hoping the shortage doesn't last too long," Knutzen said.

Dr. Natalie Fleming is a pediatrician at Methodist Physicians Regency Clinic. She has advice for those willing to take measures like these.

"I have had actually had moms say 'My friend has some extra breast milk. I'm thinking about using it. What kinds of things do I need to watch out for?' Of course, I would always defer any medical decision-making to your child's doctor," Fleming said.

Oftentimes, Fleming says, there are more options than the one formula your child uses, so switching to a different brand or type is plausible. But make sure to consult with your doctor first. If you are in need of formula fast, doctors' offices offer samples but Fleming strongly discourages making formula at home.

Knutzen lays out the bottom line for parents.

"It's scary and it causes sleepless nights," she said.

Fleming also wants to stress that if a baby is formula-fed and a mother wants to use others' breast milk, it's not necessarily dangerous. Just make sure the source is reliable and safe with your doctor.

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