When a cohort of people who work with families met last week to discuss the baby formula shortage, there weren’t many resources to share. The shortage is worsening. By the end of May, more than 60% of baby formula was out of stock in Texas.
“There’s nothing like seeing the stress on a mother’s face from not knowing where their newborn is going to get their next meal from,” said Misty Wilder, who directs Healthy Start at The University of North Texas Health Science Center.
Nonprofits, public programs and families are working to provide a stopgap. Here’s what’s available in Tarrant County.
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This guide was last updated June 3.
This nonprofit in southwest Fort Worth typically provides donor breast milk to babies born early or ill. Thanks to an influx in donor milk in the last month, along with increased processing hours in the lab, the milk bank is offering a limited supply of milk to families who can’t find formula.
What: Free, one-time allotment of 34 ounces of frozen, pasteurized donor milk
Who: Families with babies 6 months and under
How: Call 817-810-0071 to place an order and schedule a pick-up during regular business hours (9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday) at 7617 Benbrook Parkway. Bring a cooler for the milk, as well as proof of the baby’s birth and your relationship to the baby (i.e. birth certificate, ID). Shipping and deliveries aren’t available.
If you’d like to donate breast milk, learn about the process here.
The WIC program provides nutrition counseling and financial support for pregnant or postpartum women and families of children under 5. The program also provides breastfeeding support.
Typically, WIC offers a designated brand and amount of infant formula. In the shortage, WIC temporarily has expanded the types of baby formula covered by the program. If your baby’s formula isn’t available, you can view the list of alternatives here.
What: Nutrition counseling and financial support for certain foods, including baby formula
How: Apply online or call your local WIC office. Next, you’ll have an appointment to verify your eligibility and talk with a nutrition expert. If you qualify, you’ll receive a WIC card to use at the grocery store.
Facebook groups and other online formula directories
The Nationwide Formula Search is a private group on Facebook with more than 2,000 members. The group began informally last month as an effort to connect families across the U.S. with formula, said Jaquelyn Kay Medrano, a group administrator who lives in Fort Worth.
“For as many moms and parents who were looking for formula, there were as many people who had seen (the group) on the news or who had heard about it wanted to join just to help,” she said.
What: A Facebook group that connects people across the country with formula
Who: Anyone who needs formula
How: Whether you need formula or have formula to give, search for the group on Facebook. It’s private, so request to join. After you’re accepted, post a description of the formula you’re seeking. Also, you can scroll through posts from people across the U.S. who have access to formula. If there’s a match, start a private conversation through Facebook’s messaging tool and exchange information. People who need formula typically cover both formula and shipping costs, sometimes through an app like Venmo or Zelle, Medrano said.
If you have extra formula, go through the same process and post in the group which formula you can offer.
Other online directories exist. Lauren Stockard, the sponsorship director for Fort Worth Moms, regularly checks DFW Baby Formula for stock near here. Tiffany Smith, the nurse supervisor for the Nurse-Family Partnership in Tarrant County, said she’s directing moms to that website as well as www.findhelp.org.
Alexis Allison is the health reporter at the Fort Worth Report. Her position is supported by a grant from Texas Health Resources. Contact her by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.