Mother drives 4 hours to get scarce baby formula

Diluting formula to make it last longer could harm your baby
Posted at 4:10 PM, May 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-11 16:10:11-04

GREAT BEND, KANSAS — A nationwide baby formula shortage puts parents in a tough situation.

A Kansas mother resorts to driving four hours to Kansas City to get her hands on a specific brand of formula she needs.

Haley Rubble is growing desperate.

Her son Isaac is 8 months old and needs to be fed, and baby formula is what works best for him.

"We found out when Isaac was about three months old that he has a dairy intolerance we're not sure if it's an allergy yet," Rubble said.

But what she sees when she goes inside grocery stores in Great Bend, Kansas are empty shelves with no baby formula in sight.

"We haven't found a can of similar CARE sensitive here in town, for months, I want to say February was the last time that we were able to find a can of formula here for him," Rubble said.

She said she's constantly on her computer checking with stores and manufacturers on availability.

She recently lost $250 after placing an order online that never came to her house.

And now she's going the extra mile, driving four hours to Kansas City and beyond just to get her hands on baby formula.

She has spent over $1,000 over the past couple of weeks alone.

"We've searched shelves from Texas to Colorado to Oklahoma to Kansas City. Anything and everything and it's they're empty," she said.

And she's not the only one.

Dr. Lauren Hughes with bloom pediatrics and lactation said she's getting phone calls nonstop from concerned parents.

"I've never seen anything like this before and it shouldn't have it shouldn't be an issue," Dr. Hughes said. "People should never be worried about feeding their children. This is ridiculous."

Dr. Hughes said she typically has formula samples on hand but this crisis is also impacting her supply.

Her advice to parents: if you can't find your child's formula talk to your pediatrician about other options.

Try looking for formula at smaller stores instead of big box retailers, and whatever you do don't make your own formula, dilute it or use less than the amount of formula you need.

"It can severely damage your child's kidneys in particular, because there is a very specific amount of you know, sodium and potassium and like all these different micro-nutrients and so watering it down can dilute it and can actually be really damaging," Dr. Hughes said.

Haley has cans of formula she ordered and can't use because of her son's allergies.

She said she's doing her best to send it to other moms, but in the meantime she'll continue to do what she can to keep her child fed.

"Just looking at your baby and realizing they're going to be hungry, or you know, offering that different kind of formula and they scream and are miserable for days. And you realize that it's you you're the one who did that to them and so driving for hours to go pick up a can of formula that won't make him miserable is beyond worth it," Rubble said.