‘We go to 5 or 6 stores sometimes!’: Local parents feel impact of nationwide baby formula shortage

DUVAL COUNTY, Fla. — The supply chain has affected our access to many necessary items during this pandemic—from computer chips for our cars to lumber for our new homes.

Now, it’s affecting a vital need for new parents: baby formula.

CLICK HERE for FDA recall information.

Action News Jax’s Courtney Cole explains how much the price of baby formula has been impacted and introduces us to First Coast Women’s Services, an organization helping to fill in the gap.

“We go to five or six stores sometimes to find it!”'

CLICK HERE for information on the expansion of the recall.

Devon Davito is talking about baby formula for her 9-month-old daughter, Ellie.

“She was a NICU baby — she was on NeoSure Similac, and that was one of the ones that was recalled,” Davito explained.

Since the recall, Davito has changed formulas— twice.

“We switched to Enfamil. And that’s not on the shelves every place. And there’s only two formulas she can have right now,” Davito told Cole.

Unfortunately, parents across the country are facing this same challenge.

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Even new moms like Emma Watson, who breastfeed their babies, still have concerns about the formula shortage.

“It’s definitely stressful knowing that if we can’t do breast milk, that there might not be an option for her or that it might be hard to get,” Watson said.

Cole visited some stores in our area only to find mostly empty shelves.

We had better luck on Amazon, but you’ll have to shell out anywhere between $10 and $200, depending on the brand and the amount of formula you need, to feed your baby.

The average cost of the most popular baby formula products is up as much as 18% over the last 12 months.

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“The Ready to Feed formula we did order from Amazon—and spent like $300 for three weeks. And I was like, ‘This is way more than we are used to! It’s normally not that expensive for three weeks!’” exclaimed Davito.

Local organizations are being impacted by the shortage as well, including First Coast Women’s Services.

“Specifically with formula, we’ll have doctors offices and different places like that that will give us formula. It has been coming to us less,” said Jennifer Pace, the development director of FCWS explained.

CLICK HERE for the FCW website.

FCWS has been around since 1994 and is completely supported by the community.

“For us to be a home, for us to be a safe place for our clients, has been just tremendous! You know? You can feel that! You can feel the appreciation that people have from us being there,” Pace shared proudly, with a smile on her face.

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Pace told Cole baby formula is the item that they usually give away right away.

“We do have some, but it is very limited. But anything that we have — First Coast Women’s Services has five centers in the Jacksonville area, so we also work together as a team. So if there’s a mom in need, that’s all we do. We coordinate with each other,” Pace explained.

For more information about the services and resources FCWS offers, including free pregnancy tests, free ultrasounds and the ‘Earn while you Learn’ program, CLICK HERE.

If you have any gently used baby items you’d like to donate to any of the five FCWS locations, email Pace directly at jpace@fcwsprc.org.