Navigating ongoing formula shortage

(ABC 6 News) – The baby formula shortage is continuing to put additional stress on families. Now, some moms are taking to social media to help out others.

With trekking between stores and seeing empty shelves, you might start to wonder if there is another way to get your child what they need. There are a few options and it might include social media.

"Well there has to be other moms that are in the same boat that I’m in," said Becky Zirbel, the founder of Minnesota Baby Formula Free and Trade on Facebook.

Zirbel understands the struggle first-hand as her daughter needs a specific type of formula.

"I just obviously wanted to make this site so it wasn’t people trying to sell formula. I wanted it to be out of the goodness of people’s hearts, just to help other moms get formula for their little ones."

It’s also a struggle for moms like Holly Jasmin because her baby also needs a specific type of formula. Living in Wells, she finds herself driving 30 minutes out of town just to find empty shelf, after empty shelf.

"Usually we can find one can. But it’s never more than that. So it’s every week, it’s a new thing," said Jasmin. "When we have to keep switching, he’ll have constipation with one, more acid reflux with one, and then just some that he can’t handle at all."

If going to the store isn’t working for you, or you can’t find what you need online, some people have turned to homemade alternatives.

"We are not recommending homemade formulas. A lot of these recipes, it misses on those counts. So we can see things like calcium, sodium imbalance that are potentially dangerous," said Dr. Kelsey Klass, a pediatrician at the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center.

That’s Mayo Clinic’s answer to if parents should make homemade formula, don’t do it.

"Some of the things I’m seeing are recommending like unpasteurized milk, for example, has had its moment online. That is never recommended for infants, young children, or adults because of the risk for infection."

Wendy O’Leary, the WIC services manager of Olmsted County is reminding people to not give up when they see an empty shelf.

"Just because a shelf is empty does not mean the store does not have any formula. Sometimes they’re storing it at customer service or a different location in the store. So it’s always best to ask," said O’Leary.

One thing you can do to help is if you’re at the store and you see baby formula on the shelves, take a photo and post it online to let other moms know what’s available.