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3,000 local babies impacted by baby formula shortage with Jefferson County’s WIC programs

WBRC Baby formula and WIC program
Published: May. 16, 2022 at 10:47 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - 13,000 participants use Jefferson County’s WIC programs to help them feed their families, and many of those participants are moms with infants.

“WIC is impacted a lot,” Nutrition Service Coordinator for Jefferson County WIC Program Natalie Clements said. “Our babies are impacted by this formula shortage.”

Jefferson County’s WIC program is how 3,000 local babies get fed, but with the nationwide formula shortage, the county is limiting supplies.

“Were able to give families two to three cans to hold them over until they find two to three more cans in the stores,” Clements said.

But, that’s not even half of what they normally give to moms.

“We have had lots of moms calling who cant find their formula,” Clements said.

For babies who are only formula fed, Clements said up until about three months old, they get around nine formula cans.

“When they are four to five months old, on a normal formula, maybe 10 cans,” Clements said.

Now with six less cans than they normally get, Clements said moms are searching everywhere to find formula

“Some stores are limiting cans to one at a time,” she said. “With the price of gas, you cant just drive all around the county looking for three cans of formula. We tell them to try some of the smaller stores. They seem to have less of a distribution problem than some of those super centers.”

The county’s WIC program uses Enfamil formula, through a partnership with the manufacturer and the state. It is not on a recall, but until production on other formulas ramps up again, the health department will be short supplied.

“They are trying to fill orders for WIC ahead of some of the stores,” Clements said. “But, still we are getting limited amounts and can only dole it out a small amount at a time.”

Clements also warns against buying baby formula online or on Facebook, because you never know what is inside the can. She also said before you supplement with cows milk, or switch to soy or milk based formulas, check with your child’s pediatrician. She said it’s usually fine to make the switch, but double check just incase.

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