Health centers struggle to find formula for families they serve
Officials urge parents not to use homemade recipes
Ray Brewer | WMUR
SOMERSWORTH, N.H. | As many New Hampshire families scramble to find formula for their children, health centers told U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas, D-New Hampshire, Tuesday they are doing everything they can to help get babies fed.
Officials at the Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth said they are working with other agencies and monitoring social media posts in an effort to find baby formula.
“I went the other day, and there was one can of formula, and I know that I have 600 babies in this area that need to be fed,” said Riona Corr, WIC director for Goodwin Community Health.
Pappas hosted a roundtable discussion at the health center to discuss the crisis. He said warning signs were missed.
“There should have been some red flags going up here when production was shut down at one facility in Michigan, understanding what that does to the supply chain,” he said.
The congressman said the current focus is on ensuring formula gets on the shelf, even if it has to be flown in from overseas.
Health officials said they’re worried that families who can’t find formula are taking dangerous steps.
“We don’t want them using homemade formula recipes, which is sometimes what is happening,” said Jessica Garlough, director of family and social services at Seacoast Community Health. “They’re finding them online. They’re trying to trade for formulas that we don’t know where they came from, outside of the country sometimes.”
For some families, formula is their only option.
“Our foster families can’t breastfeed,” Corr said. “Our single dads can’t breastfeed. Foster children. Moms who can’t lactate.”
Officials worry that the current crisis will continue to be felt in the years to come.
“In five years, if these infants aren’t being fed correctly, we’re going to see major health issues,” Corr said.
Health center workers said they need support now, but in the future, they want to make sure there’s a backup plan so this never happens again.