Baby formula supply chain woes remain a concern for some Vt. parents

Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 4:27 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - There has been a nationwide shortage of baby formula since February caused by quality control problems at a major plant in Michigan. Vermont health officials say shelves are filling up again but for some parents, the struggle continues.

“I have a medically complex two-year-old who doesn’t rely on formula as his main source of nutrition but it is a substantial part of his daily nutritional intake,” said Anna McGee Hanson of mother from Belmont. whose son has special needs.

She gets her formula through WIC and was able to get it for her son just fine up until recently. “It is back-ordered. It’s the Similac brand, so they were no longer to get that one. He then, unfortunately, had an allergic reaction to one they did have. Then, we went to get a new one and that one was back-ordered. So, now we are working on getting another one,” McGee Hanson said.

She says other mothers she knows have been seeing formula coming back on store shelves but some have resorted to other methods. “Some of my friends who have younger babies have chosen to keep pumping or breastfeeding longer than they really had the energy for because they just weren’t sure they would be able to find the formula to feed their kids,” McGee Hanson said.

While generic brands are helping keep store shelves full, getting soy-free formula or brands for sensitive babies is still a struggle. Parents are urged to talk to their pediatricians. “I always tell families to contact their baby’s doctor first, or if they are using WIC, to contact WIC. They have nutritionists there that are available to answer questions about what would be a suitable replacement, and what’s not a suitable replacement,” said Michelle Shepard with the UVM Medical Center.

“Domestically produced infant formula stocks have been recovering, supplemented by those imported infant formulas that have been coming into the country. Food and pharmacy retailers really have been able to improve their supply chains,” said Jackie Charnley, Vermont’s WIC nutrition coordinator.

Vermont health officials say their website will be updated as more formula comes to Vermont.

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