Baby formula shortage felt by Valley parents

'Not only can we not find it, but when we do find it, there's always a 20% markup on it'
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The nation's baby formula shortage is getting worse, leaving store shelves bare and parents finding other ways to keep their babies fed.

Valerie Farnsworth visits the Fresno Chaffee Zoo once a week with her five-month-old son, Harrison. Unfortunately, the rest of her week is dedicated to a different kind of adventure.

"Outside of the zoo, the casual mom trip to Target has turned into me just hunting, trying every Target in town, trying to find this formula," Farnsworth said.

Baby Harrison was diagnosed with a milk allergy, so breastfeeding isn't an option. He takes a specific hypoallergenic formula -- Nutramigen.

In February, the Food and Drug Administration recalled three brands of powdered formulas because of potential bacterial infections.

According to Harrison's mom, once the recall hit, Nutramigen was rarely in stock.

"Not only can we not find it, but when we do find it, there's always a 20% markup on it," she said.

RELATED: Baby formula shortage hitting US is getting worse following recall on numerous brands
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More than 30% of baby formula was out of stock in the U.S. since April, after a recall on numerous major brands.

The shortage and the skyrocketing costs have another Fresno mom, Jordan Beltran, nervous.

She said she wasn't able to produce enough breastmilk for her first child, and worries she'll, once again, have to rely on formula for her second child, who's due any day now.

"What if I can't produce milk, and I need formula. Yesterday, I went to Walmart and I saw one can, and I was like 'I should just buy it just to be safe'," Beltran said.

While the White House and FDA work on getting more supply onto shelves, Farnsworth is finding ways around the shortage, which includes getting help from friends out of state.

"They found as many as they could at their local Kroger and mailed it to us," she shared.

Beltran is also beginning to stock up, when she can find formula.

However, both mothers are left wondering: when are things going to get better?

"Is the shortage going to be just for a couple months?" asked Beltran "Is it going to be a year?"

Dr. Hailey Nelson, a pediatrician at Valley Children's Healthcare, warns parents not to try and make formula at home and don't buy formula online from overseas, because it's not FDA regulated. Plus, avoid watering down you baby's formula to make it last longer.

"They have specific caloric needs," said Dr. Nelson. "For those micro and macro nutrients, that really only can be met through a formula that is regulated or through breast milk."

Today, the American Academy of Pediatrics just released guidance for parents on the formula shortage and how to handle the issue.

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