‘It’s been really challenging’: Mid-South mothers still struggle to find baby formula

MEMPHIS, TENN. — By July of this year, Mid-South mothers had already grown desperate about the lack of baby formula on store shelves.

“It needs to end because we need to feed our babies,” Stephanie Patiño told FOX13 in July. “Not every mom is able to breastfeed.”

The mother of three started this Facebook group so mothers could alert each other about product availability in Shelby County stores.

The shortage began eight months ago when Abbott Nutrition stopped production at a plant in Michigan. Prior to its temporary closure, inspectors with the Food and Drug Administration had discovered bacteria dangerous to babies in some of the plant’s powdered infant formula. That plant controlled an estimated one fifth of the country’s supply of baby formula. Since then, the Biden administration has arranged for more than two dozen flights of baby formula to the United States. Republicans argue more needs to be done.

Four months later, Patiño questions why the crisis has not been resolved.

“It’s about to be a year already!” Patiño said. “Come on, people! Get it together!”

Her daughter Silvia needs baby formula for at least three more months, but she’s determined to keep the Facebook group running as long as the shortage exists.

Working mothers like Toddnetta Trice also want the crisis to end.

“We deserve access to formula because it’s more convenient for us working moms,” Trice said. “Unfortunately, a lot of us don’t have the ability to breastfeed.”

For 21 weeks, she has struggled to find access to the formula her daughter Malaya needs. Trice doesn’t want to imagine a world where her daughter can’t have it.

“How’s she going to live? How’s she going to eat?” she asked. “She needs formula to survive.”

Click here for FOX13′s Baby Formula Shortage Resource Guide.