Parents across U.S. continue to look for baby formula amid shortage

Parents across the U.S. say they are going to multiple stores and trying to find baby formula on social media and the internet.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. (KABC) -- Parents across the country are scrambling to find baby formula due to a shortage.

Vivian Gallegos was born and raised in Long Beach, and moved to Idaho a few years ago. She says she has a 5-month-old baby girl and has to feed her baby formula.

"I was diagnosed with COVID pneumonia and that's why I had to have my baby early. I had to have her at eight months in order to give me proper medication because they couldn't give me the proper medication while being pregnant with her," said Gallegos.

Gallegos says doctors told her she had to formula feed while she was recovering from COVID. She is still formula feeding but is now having trouble finding it.

She says she goes to multiple stores and even resorts to social media to purchase formula.

"Our first place is always Target, so if we can't find anything at Target, we go to Walmart. If we can't find it at Walmart, we go to Walgreens, and then we just have to keep on going until we find a least one can of formula," said Gallegos.

Nick Vyas, executive director of the Randall R. Kendrick Global Supply Chain Institute at University of Southern California, says there are still equipment and labor shortages. Part of the problem stems from an Abbott Nutrition recall in mid-February for select formulas.

"Now the suppliers are facing with not having enough resources to get their product to the retailer and the retailers not having enough capacity to absorb the demand," said Vyas.

Walgreens is limiting the number of baby formula products to three per transaction. A Walgreens spokesperson wrote this statement to ABC7:

"Due to increased demand and various supplier challenges, infant and toddler formulas are seeing constraint across the country. Similar to other retailers, we put into effect purchase limits of three per transaction on all infant and toddler formula to help improve inventory. We continue to work diligently with our supplier partners to best meet customer demands."

Vyas says the best thing parents can do is not panic buy.

"All panic buy does is increases the artificial demand and further constrains the supply and in stock situation," said Vyas.

Manufacturers are ramping up production to make up the difference, but admit it may take weeks to catch up.

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