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Arkansas families struggle to find baby formula

Some parents are still feeling the impact of the baby formula shortage.

ARKANSAS, USA — During the spring and summer, many families were impacted by the nationwide baby formula shortage— now, even months later, some families have still been struggling to find the formula their babies need.

"It's definitely a struggle. It's very nerve-racking," said first-time mom Baley Shell.

According to Shell, finding formula for her newborn has been a challenge. 

"The only one you can find in stores right now is Gerber," she said.

She usually feeds her baby Enfamil Gentlease, which she said has become hard to come by. 

"The only place I've been able to get it is Walmart's website to have it delivered same day, but it's not on their shelves," she explained.

Fellow mom Abbey Johnston knows that struggle as well— and now does her best to help others.

"We actually have some formula leftover from when we were in a bind, trying to find a formula. And I saw a girl posted the other day who needed it. So we were able to give back to her for what people had done to us," Johnston said.

Johnston said that there weren't many formula options for her daughter, who has allergies. 

In the past, she has relied on the hypoallergenic formula, Nutramegin. Now, she said other parents are searching for it. 

"It's not a fun feeling when you can't find formula for your baby," she said.

Lactation Consultant Sondra Rodocker said that she's noticed empty formula shelves when shopping and said that it's common for stores to not put all of the supply out— especially with Nutramegin. 

"There's a lot of theft issues with it because it is expensive, but their baby needs it," Rodocker said.

If you can't find your usual name-brand formula for your baby, she recommended trying the off-brand. 

"A lot of the store name brands are just as good as the name brands....as long as it says infant formula, it's been through FDA testing, it is where it's supposed to be," she said.

She also added to do your research and talk to a pediatrician if you're looking to make a switch. 

"Knowing that there's a shortage, again, it's just disheartening because not a lot of parents have support on their lactation journey. And some have to go back to work super quickly. So they just do the best that they can. And so we just try to fit in and help as we can," she said.

The Arkansas Department of Health recommended reaching out to your local county "WIC" office if you're struggling to find the formula you need.

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