VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Courtney York, like a lot of mothers, works long hours which means she gets barely any time to spend with her daughter, Isla, before she puts her down to sleep.
York said much of her "free" time these days is spent searching for baby formula online.
"All of a sudden, we were like, 'Where is the formula?' We can't find anything," said York, who, along with other parents, has been posting about the nationwide shortage of formula on social media. Some people are posting in groups for parents, offering frozen breast milk to families in need.
In York's case, her daughter is allergic to a certain protein often found in breast milk and has to rely on a specific formula for food.
"She started to have adverse reactions, like she was having tummy issues, a lot of fussiness, and bowel movements," she explained.
York said she has to order formula online way in advance and pay a higher price than she's used to paying, pointing to one of her recent orders as an example.
"That was maybe three weeks ago and I'm still waiting for that to come in," said York. "When we first started buying it, we were spending $60, so it had already gone up. Now with the shortage, I can't even find the $60 can. So, I'm spending $33 on a can that is less than half the size of that one."
President Joe Biden announced his administration is working with big stores to get formula back on shelves faster. The president added he is working with states to make sure vulnerable families can better access to formula through their local Women, Infant, and Children program, also called "WIC."
York said she has to make difficult decisions and feed her daughter while she waits for the right product.
"I have to feed my child, so here I am giving her something that's upsetting her stomach, making it hard for her to sleep or have bowel movements," said York. "It's rough."
She said she hopes the Biden Administration searches for longer-term solutions not only to help fix the supply problem, but also help lower the price of formula.
Late Friday afternoon, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin released the following statement about the formula shortage:
My administration remains engaged with industry leaders on their production capabilities, and the Virginia Department of Heath is working to ensure that there are adequate supplies of baby formula state-wide. Additionally, my administration has asked the FDA to utilize all resources to get the U.S. plant back into production as quickly as possible. Simply put, acquiring baby formula shouldn't be a challenge in the United States.