SAN DIEGO — Despite attempts by lawmakers to resolve the baby formula shortage, local moms are still struggling to get the nutrition their babies desperately need right now.
"It's been pretty stressful," said Yesenia Auer.
Like many moms, Auer relies on formula to feed her seven-month-old daughter, Nadia.
"So, I started formula feeding my baby around six weeks. I tried breastfeeding but my supply just wasn't enough, and the older she got, it got less and less and so I have to do formula now exclusively," said Auer.
After going from store to store only to find empty shelves, the Escondido mom posted in a local moms' group.
She received a flood of responses, everything from where to find the formula she needs to people offering to give her some for free.
"So, usually we'll set up a time to meet either in a parking lot or I go to their house for a porch pickup. The fact they’re able to help has meant the world to me. Just less stress and not being so scared what if my formula runs out? I know there are those options," said Auer.
Paying it forward, Auer started a Facebook group called ‘Formula Finder San Diego’, a dedicated page where other moms can go for the same type of help she received.
“So that it's all in one specific place, because they can get lost when people post about other things and I don’t know if people are sick of the formula posts that aren't looking for formula,” said Auer.
It's a strategy that's happening all over social media.
Another local Facebook group called 'In Stock & Needed Essentials' which first started during the pandemic, has real time posts about stores that have formula.
Elsewhere, some moms are going to Tijuana to buy formula, where supply isn't as big an issue.
Other moms have had luck online.
However, be aware of scams and people trying to overcharge.
The Better Business Bureau suggests people check out a business's website before buying anything, and pay with a credit card, which gives you more protection.
-make sure formula is FDA approved
-avoid using someone's else’s breastmilk
-do not dilute formula
-and don't try making your own at home
“Formula is so complex. It's this delicate balance of nutrients and minerals, the balance between protein and fat and if you throw that off, it could be dangerous to the baby,” said Dr. Alanna Levine with the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Doctors also say the closer to one your baby is, the safer it is for them to have whole milk.
Another thing you can try is calling your pediatrician to see if they have any samples of formula which you can have.
Watch Related: San Diego Food Bank sees impacts of nationwide baby formula shortage (May 10, 2022)