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MercyOne Children's Hospital working to stay ahead of baby formula shortage

One MercyOne pediatrician believes there is a light at the end of the tunnel despite the struggles across the nation.

DES MOINES, Iowa — As parents across the country and right here in Iowa struggle to find baby formula on store shelves, MercyOne Children's Hospital in Des Moines is facing similar challenges.

"I've been in a lot of communications with a lot of the reps from all of the different baby formula companies that are out there," said Nicole O'Leary, a clinical dietitian specializing in pediatrics. "I probably am talking to two or three families a week about how to get their formula."

Especially concerning is meeting the needs of babies with dietary restrictions who can't make an easy switch to a different brand.

"I was just working with a family... trying to find a formula, because they have multiple food allergies, and they need a hypoallergenic formula. And that's one of the ones that's in the worst shape."

As frustration sets in for parents, O'Leary is cautious on things to avoid, like:

  • Making your own
  • Watering down what you have
  • Turning to whole milk or goat's milk

"They do not provide adequate nutrition for the infant. It's not complete," O'Leary said.

She also said while parents should get what they need, hoarding isn't a good idea.

"Don't be clear and off the shelf when you see it," O'Leary said. "We want to make sure that you secure your supply, but we want to also want to make sure that there's supply out there for others."

O'Leary also said she believes there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

"I've was informed today by an Abbott representative that they're hoping in the next few weeks that they'll be back to making baby formulas," she said. "So I'm hoping within the next three to four to five months, we will see some resolution."

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