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Baby formula shortage on the minds of many soon-to-be parents in Hawaii

News of a potential shortage is sparking more interest in breastfeeding products.
Published: May. 15, 2022 at 4:23 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Dubbed “Hawaii’s Largest Baby Shower,” the New Baby Expo returned to the Neal Blaisdell Center this weekend, with expecting and new parents eager to check out the latest products for their keiki.

“Since all the new stuff that came out, it’s really cool to see all the vendors come back,” said Tyrus and Kira Ceria-Lux. “It’s good to see the actual product in person too.”

There were plenty of cute toys, party ideas and baby items, but not much of one important product -- baby formula.

Abbott Nutrition, which makes about half of the country’s supply, recalled some of its products in February due to reports of infant illness and deaths -- its Michigan plant is closed pending investigation.

With no real timeline for when it will reopen, families are finding their brands out of stock. So far, Hawaii hasn’t felt the pinch.

“We’re all tracking the situation very carefully along with our community, doctors, pediatrician, labor and delivery,” said Sunny Chen, Executive Director of the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawaii. “At least we don’t have as as much of an urgent emergency situation, you may not be able to find your particular preferred brand or formula, you might have to go to an alternate brand.”

“We’ve been breastfeeding for most of her meals. So, you know, we’ve been fortunate. But we’ve been keeping up with it,” parent Jared Miyamoto said. “Some babies only can take certain formulas and only respond well to those and I know, they have issues with other ones. So some families can’t find the specific brand that they’re used to. And so that’s got to be tough.”

“You have to feed your child and then to not be able to provide that is I can’t even imagine that that fear and anxiety,” Nikki Miyamoto said.

News of a potential shortage is sparking more interest in breastfeeding.

“I’ve seen a lot of like mothers come in, and then they’re like, oh, yeah, I have to buy a breast pump in order for me to support my child because they need milk,” said Harvee Jacinto of vendor PharmaCare.

Local experts suggest reaching out to your doctor and community resources if you are unable to breastfeed and cannot find the formula you need.

Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawaii has a 24-hour telehealth platform at hmhb-hawaii.org or call (808)-737-5805 Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

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