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'It’s very stressful’: Formula shortage weighs heavy on central Ohio parents

Parents are spending hours driving around searching for a basic need for their babies.

CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio — Not all mothers can provide breast milk for their babies. There are all sorts of reasons for that -- and that's why many families depend on formula.

Formula that they are spending hours tracking down.

Five-month-old Franklin made Hannah Marcum a mom.

“This is what I wanted my whole life,” she said. “I can't even find the words to describe how amazing it is. I look at him and it's like a love I've never known.”

Providing a basic need for her baby has been an ordeal.

“I'm finding myself counting cans for at least a week and then I'm like, 'what am I going to do after this?'"

Like many parents right now, she spends hours searching for formula.

“I'm driving with these gas prices all over the place trying to find this formula I've got posts on Facebook, my parents are looking everywhere, friends from out of state are looking places,” she said.

Because so many moms like Hannah are turning to social media for help, Adeva McKenzie created a Facebook group for parents in central Ohio to share pictures when they find formula in stock.

“I created the group Tuesday, I've had two people post at least 'hey, I'm giving this away come get it.' I've had almost 100 people join,” McKenzie said.

"When I go to the grocery store, I see [that] the shelves are just totally empty,” said Caitlin Bauer, a registered dietitian at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

She said breast milk or formula is vital for the first year of a child's life.

“We know that that provides the exact nutrition that these babies need between carbohydrates, protein, fat, and then all of those micronutrients, those vitamins and minerals that these babies need, that we just can't get through foods, cereals, other types of things,” she said.

She does not recommend using anything other than breast milk or formula.

And for moms like  Marcus, formula is the only option.

“This is a baby and he's not eating any other food besides formula so it's very stressful,” Marcum said.

Bauer also suggested utilizing a milk bank.

With the Human Milk Banking Association of North America -- there is a local bank through OhioHealth.

“You are able to purchase through the bank, they have we spoke to them [Wednesday]. And they do have a good supply,” she said.

The best way to contact is by calling  614-566-0630 or e-mailing them at milkbank@ohiohealth.com.

She urges any mothers with an oversupply to consider donating.

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