JACKSON, Mich. — Baby formula shortages have been impacting parents across Michigan, including in Jackson, but two local groups are trying to ease the pain of not being able to find formula.
Salena Taylor started Partial to Girls when the COVID-19 pandemic first started. She works with a team of women from the local community to address any needs they see in Jackson.
“I go 24/7. I get calls every day,” Taylor said. “Someone might just have their baby newborn, and they’re at the hospital and they may need diapers when they’re ready to come home. I’m just someone you can contact 24/7.”
Now, they are turning their attention to the formula shortage.
They work in partnership with a Facebook group called Formula Shortage Jackson, Michigan. They work with nurse practitioners in Jackson and lactation consultants to help create content and online videos to get information out to parents.
Pediatric nurse practitioner Libby Cross, who is part of the formula shortage group, said they recently conducted a poll showing 60 percent of moms in the area still can rarely find formula in the stores.
“One of the reasons why we started this was because, whenever there is a shortage, people who have more access to those items and connections in the community, they tend to get those things first, leaving those with less access at higher risk and many of those families were struggling with COVID and what not,” Cross said.
Partial to Girls hosts monthly giveaways where they serve 150 to 200 people within a two-hour time period.
“They are scared,” Taylor said. “There’s no other word that I can think of right now. Moms are really scared right now. When they’re steady and going to the store, they have the money they have their WIC resources, but they’re not finding formula. They’re just not finding the formula they need.”
And when families can’t find formula, what happens?
“Sometimes they will dilute their formula, or they will give other things in their bottle to try and make it through because that’s all they can do right now, so that’s kind of what we’re hoping to prevent,” Cross said. “We worry with formula dilution infants can have seizures. They can get electrolyte imbalances too. Their weight gain sometimes does not take off and that can lead to brain development problems even later in life.”
Taylor says if the group doesn’t have what you need, they turn you to other resources such as the Community Action Agency and United Way.
“Honestly, with everything I’ve been seeing going on right now, if you are a pregnant mom, and you have an opportunity to not get off into this fight and struggle that we’re in, by naturally breastfeeding I’ve been learning a lot there, and I just think that if you have a choice right now you may consider breastfeeding,” Taylor said.
Taylor is looking for breastfeeding materials that can be given to the community. Both Cross and Taylor say to reach out to their groups on Facebook if you or someone you know needs help getting these supplies.
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