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‘It’s really hard’: Foster families struggling during baby formula shortage

By Marlei Martinez

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    LONGWOOD, Florida (WESH) — Foster families are feeling the pain of the baby formula shortage.

Amy Irish is a new foster mom to a 3-month-old boy in Longwood.

They are down to one last can of baby formula. So how long will that last them?

“A week if we’re lucky,” Irish said.

They are facing a serious time crunch. Meanwhile, it will be weeks at least before shelves start to fill again.

Still, her husband searches about 10 stores every day.

“If he goes by a Walgreens, if he goes by a CVS, if he drives by a Target, if he drives by a Publix, if he drives by a Winn Dixie, he stops and checks,” she said.

Irish took her foster son in when he was just 3-weeks-old, right when the formula shortage really hit.

“Being a foster parent is hard. Then you add this, and it’s really hard,” she said.

Irish said as a foster parent, feeding options are even more limited.

“I really hope that people keep in mind that not everyone can breastfeed. And it’s an awkward conversation to walk up to people and just recommend that,” she said.

Her foster son is on Similac formula, one of the brands impacted by the closure of the Abbott factory in Michigan.

As a foster parent, Irish said it is not simple to switch to a different formula.

“We’re not able to go out and buy whatever is on the shelf,” she said. “We are supposed to adhere to what we are told to feed them, what they are prescribed. Since he has a prescription, I can’t just change it.”

Yet, with only one can left, they are running out of options.

“I have no idea what we’re going to do at this point,” Irish said.

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