How to Navigate Formula Shortages, Kentucky Children’s Hospital Responds

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — Parents have been grappling with formula shortages since Abbott’s recall a few weeks ago, which doctors said pulled many Similac, Alimentum and EleCare products from shelves. So what can parents do?

Experts at Kentucky Children’s Hospital in Lexington say that if you’re having trouble finding formula, don’t “dilute” what you have since babies need a certain number of calories. They also warn against giving babies almond milk or other low-protein milk options that won’t have all the necessary nutrients, or giving cow’s milk without mentioning it. first with a pediatrician.

“If you have a child who takes a standard formula, you have a lot of

Photo courtesy of the University of Kentucky Public Relations Department.

more options,” says Therese Ryzowicz, clinical nutritionist at Kentucky Children’s Hospital. “We mainly deal with children who have very specific needs and they can only have a formula or a class of formula, these children are the most affected.

Ryzowicz says if your baby has special dietary needs, speak with your child’s pediatrician for alternatives to formula not available. Luckily, she says, programs like WIC were able to adapt quickly and switch to different generic brands for parents.

“It’s hard for parents right now, it really is,” Ryzowicz says. “I feel for many of them, especially with special care needs.”

One family struggling with formula shortages is the Rankins family. Savella Rankins has a daughter who is only one year old and has short bowel syndrome, so she can only use specific types of infant formula.

“I’ve changed his formula three times already,” Rankins says. “Changing formula for her is really bad for her gut.”

Rankins says she only has 2 boxes of Puramino formula left and after they leave she will have to put her daughter on a fourth time at Neocate Syneo.

“It’s really concerning that my daughter could probably go hungry or be readmitted to the hospital to be put on NPWT and lipids, just to gain weight,” Rankins says.

Not only are store shelves empty, but nonprofits like “The Nest,” a Lexington-based support organization for women, children and families, are also feeling the effects of the baby formula shortage. . The Nest says it’s usually able to help parents get the supplies they need, but with formula shortages fewer people have been able to donate, so its oversupply has disappeared. .

“We get a lot more requests than we get,” says Adam Kuhn, assistant family supervisor at The Nest. “When a place like WIC has us on their roster, we get call after call for this kind of thing.”

The Nest says its current supply will only last a few days, but it is trying to work with families to meet other needs to improvise a solution to the formula shortage.

“We also want to help them try to buy a formula that they might not otherwise have been able to buy,” says Kuhn. “If we can get them nappies or other materials to help them save money, then maybe they can get the formula they need in larger quantities.”

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