By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Parents are reporting seeing empty shelves for baby formula at Twin Cities stores. It’s a common problem across the country.

Kelly Baker, from Eden Priarie, was visiting multiple stores trying to find the formula brand her infant daughter, Sophia, was used to. Just recently she decided to switch brands because it was what she could find in stock online.

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“It’s just been a struggle, and it makes you nervous as a parent that you won’t be able to find it,” she said.

Places like Costco and Walgreens are limiting the number of formula products that costumers can buy at one time.

A review of supplies at 11,000 stores nationwide shows nearly 30% of popular baby formula brands may be sold out. Here in Minneapolis, stores are reporting “out of stock” rates for certain formulas at above 50%.

Supply-chain issues related to COVID are one contributing factor. Then in February there was a recall on select lots of Similac and other formulas made in Sturgis, Michigan.

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“We’ve had a double whammy,” said Dr. Krishnan Subrahmanian, a pediatrician with Hennepin Healthcare.

Subrahmanian says parents who are struggling to find formula can buy online or try looking in smaller stores and drug stores. They can ask a friend or family member if they have unused formula of their brand choice.

He tells parents to never water down formula, make homemade formula, or switch to whole milk early as these can be dangerous.

“We have seen kids get hospitalized for these concerns, and this is what we’re trying to avoid,” he said.

Subrahmanian encourages concerned parents to reach out to their pediatrician. He anticipates the shortage should improve as production ramps up again in the coming weeks.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is advising parents to buy no more than a two-week supply of formula right now to help ease the shortage.

Kate Raddatz