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Big Country parents work together to overcome baby formula shortage

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Parents from across the big country are working together as the country experiences a shortage of formula milk.

“Everywhere is empty,” complained Brownwood’s mother, Brianna Espinoza.

Moms in and around Abilene have taken to social media to raise awareness and share information about where to find formula.

“It’s starting to be a point of a lot of stress for parents right now,” said Hailey Frazier, an Abilene mother of four and peer support mentor for Abilene Postpartum Support Community.

For many parents, finding formula has turned into a desperate scavenger hunt across the Big Country.

“For the past few weeks it’s been kind of like, ‘oh, I don’t know, it’s getting harder and harder to find.’ But now, especially, it’s really a time when moms are like, ‘ok, this is for real; I don’t know if we have a can left,’” Frazier explained.

“The first day we were able to buy some…was probably a week ago,” Espinoza said.

Espinoza told KTAB/KRBC that she was at the stores in Abilene, keeping her eyes open to buy formula for her sister’s one-month-old baby.

“If there is, I may be able to get some for her. That way she can have at least more than she has now,” Espinoza offered.

Espinoza said her infant nephew needed a formula called “Similac Sensitive.” This is one of the main formulas that most newborns start with. But with the empty shelves, it’s extremely difficult to buy.

“She usually has to go to different sources, like the Brownwood Pregnancy Center or the Brownwood WIC to see if they have any samples,” Espinoza said. “And they usually only give you one box, because that’s all they have.”

Another Abilene mom, Caitlin Burns, said her child switched to whole milk about a month ago and is now donating her leftover formula to a friend.

“She was going to order from Canada, but it was about $75…plus $35 for shipping,” Burns said.

Some, like Frazier, even offer to donate their own breast milk.

“I feel for those parents right now who really don’t know where their baby’s next bottle is coming from,” Frazier said.

Frazier told KTAB/KRBC the shortage leaves new parents fearful of the unexpected, which is why she plans to continue breastfeeding her 12-month-old son.

“I just think it’s important right now for parents to come together and feed all the babies,” Frazier said.

With no timeline for when the supply might improve, parents have to rely on others for help. A Facebook page called “Abilene Mama Milk” was created to help with the search for formula milk. In just one day, the group brought together 70 parents who need or want to help with food security for their children.

For even more support, some new moms in the community are encouraging others to join”The Abilene Postpartum Support Community“Facebook page.

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