EL CAJON, Calif. — By now you've heard of the nationwide baby formula shortage affecting families and infants. Mothers in San Diego County have expressed concerns and say the situation has intensified. While experts say this is the worst baby formula shortage in decades. It's been running low all over the United States and threatening the health of infants and families who depend on it for their sustenance.
“I was just getting formula right now,” said Zaskiia Colon, a mother in El Cajon who has been driving hours around San Diego, desperately looking for baby formula to feed her 6 week old daughter.
Colon told CBS 8 that it is stressful because her baby, who she did not want to mention her name for privacy, says she can’t have food. “I’m just waiting for her to turn 4 months so I can introduce it to her so I can cut down on milk,” said Colon.
Each day families across the nation are having to look for the proper baby formula that can be given to their child. Every time they head to their local grocery store they are met with barren shelves from one store to another.
“What am I supposed to do, I’m not producing enough milk,” said Colon.
Colon says the shortage of baby formulas has intensified so she had to consider switching to a different type of formula, but that only brought her baby health problems. Once she couldn’t find the formula that her baby girl was used to, Colon tried Enfamil Gentlease Infant Formula Powder. “I tried it because she was having tummy issues, this type of formula was supposed to help with gas and tummy issues. It just made it worse,” said Colon.
If that's not terrifying enough, people are also taking advantage of the situation and are reselling baby formulas on social media, but for triple the price.
“It’s so unfair, we hardly have any on the shelves, but now people who don’t need it are buying them just to resell them for more money,” said Colon.
Colon says she is thankful that she has family members in other states that have helped her and shipped certain baby formulas. Adding that other families have joined social media sites that are actually helping families and their infants to find the right baby formulas.
The ongoing shortage is caused by the combination of three brands of recalls and supply chain issues. Manufacturers say they're producing at full capacity and making as much formula as they can, but it's still not enough to meet current demand. CVS and Walgreens even confirmed that it is limiting customers nationwide to three toddler and infant formulas per transaction.
Which is why anxious mothers are attempting to look for alternatives to keep their babies from starving, but experts say getting creative might also come with risks.
“One thing that is not advisable is diluting the formula to make it last longer. If you do that it is dangerous to the baby. Formula is precision to stimulate breast milk as much as possible
Dr. Edward Curly from TrueCare, says diluting would only change the nutrients in the formula and would only give babies too much water. He adds that in order to avoid health issues, families should look for help from their physician.
No one is sure how long the shortage will last but advocacy groups like the National WIC Association are demanding an explanation on how the country let it get to a crisis like this.
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