Valley mother feeling impacts of baby formula shortage
A Valley mother is having a tough time getting her lactose intolerant daughter the nutrition she needs.
In the baby formula section at grocery stores across the Valley, the chances of finding bare shelves with a few scattered cans of formula are high. It's a daily reality for full-time wife and mother Kaylah Banda.
“It's been difficult, there's been some good weeks and some bad weeks,” Banda said. “There are times I have to drive to like three, four different stores."
Banda’s three-month-old daughter Rosalee is lactose intolerant and needs hypoallergenic formula to eat. The biggest challenge for the Banda family is finding it. Banda says once she and her husband had to drive to Brownsville, almost 50 miles away from her home, only to find a few canisters left on the shelf.
"We're lucky enough to find two cans, three cans but then, you need to-- I would say, in my opinion-- is leave something for the next mother in line," Banda said.
Mothers Milk Bank at Austin is a non-profit that receives and ships breast milk to and from the Valley, mainly for premature babies in need.
"What we're seeing suddenly is a significant rise, maybe 30 extra calls per week from families with healthy infants who were previously formula-fed or are formula-fed and the families just cannot find formula," said Kim Updegrove, executive director of Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin.
While one of the organization's top priorities is to make sure premature and sick babies in Texas get the human milk they need, they're encouraging families to look out for sealed certified safe formulas online or at local markets.
Updegrove also mentioned in a situation like Banda’s, asking others to check stores near them could help.
"Getting neighbors and getting family and friends to go for her and sort of divide up the possible retailers," Updegrove said.
Banda, who remains determined to find the formula her daughter needs, also wants other moms to watch out for price hikes on online market groups
"It's sad that if you try to find other alternatives like Facebook, there's people selling it for triple the amount,” Banda said. “It's like how can someone take advantage of a baby's misfortune? It's not fair."