WASHINGTON — Some families across the D.C. region are struggling to find baby formula amid a national shortage that has left retailers struggling to keep it on the shelves and parents desperate to get ahold of it.
The shortage started in February after a recall of certain baby formula brands. Datasembly, a retail data website based in Tysons, Virginia said over the last two weeks the percentage of baby formulas that are out of stock jumped from 30% to 40%. In D.C. 34% of the formula is currently out of stock, according to Datasembly.
The Napkin Network, a D.C.-area nonprofit of moms helping moms in need has stepped up to try and connect parents who are able to donate unused and unneeded formula with parents who desperately need it.
The local organization started as a way to get diapers, formula, wipes, and other necessities for moms who couldn't afford them, but the last two to three months have turned into a mission to help moms find and secure baby formula.
"As a mom, there’s no greater fear than you won’t be able to take care of your child," Lindsay Gill, the Founder of the Napkin Network said.
"You can’t get around feeding your child. And what we’re seeing also is parents are starting to maybe water down their formula or do things that are unhealthy and could potentially be deadly if they do it incorrectly. So we really need to be aware this could be a crisis if we don’t address it at a local and even a national level with our administration," Gill said.
The White House addressed the issue of the formula shortage Monday. White House Press Secretary Jen Pskai said the FDA is working to ensure the formula on the shelves is safe while working to make more formulas available soon.
But that message isn't calming the anxieties of mothers who are struggling to find out where they can buy their baby's next meal.
As Gill works to help families locally, and across the country, she herself is running into the same problem the moms she's working to help are facing.
"I have a four-month-old who uses formula, the shelves were bare. I bought one can. I’m afraid for when that’s done with where the next one’s going to come from," Gill said.
Despite the anxiety of running out of formula, Gill is urging parents not to hoard it, warning it could lead to more problems.
“Moms, parents, they’re getting nervous so they’re buying it up in bulk I see a lot of signage saying limited to one or two at a time to avoid that toilet paper issue we had during COVID where the shelves were bare because people were hoarding them," Gill said. "But this is different than toilet paper, this is food for your child. Like I said, I have a baby that’s his only source of nutrition is formula.”
If you are a parent and you have formula you are not using you can donate it to the Napkin Network by clicking HERE.
If you are in need of formula you can find help through the nonprofit HERE.