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Nationwide baby formula recall sends local parents searching for alternatives

A Central Texas mother says her son's formula was recalled and he just finished a full can of it. Meanwhile, milk banks are seeing a larger request.

TEXAS, USA — A nationwide baby formula recall has parents in Central Texas scrambling to find milk for their babies.

Rissa Bustamante gave birth to her son four months ago.

While motherhood has been sweet it's also given her one curve ball after another.

First, he was born with severe jaundice. Then, she discovered breastfeeding just made it worse.

"We tried him on formula just to help him get over, to help his liver develop more and then he just didn't latch again after that. so we just stuck to formula," she explained.

Now, a nationwide recall on the formula he drinks is putting Bustamante in another bind.

"My son depends on that every day, it's not like he's old enough to eat solids yet," Bustamante said. "He's nowhere near that point."

Bustamante says all of her son's formula has been recalled, but her biggest worry is that he just finished a full can of it. She says she has been monitoring him since the recall announcement and is thankfully doing well.

"That's still very scary just to think that I'm feeding him recalled formula like anything can happen," she added.

RELATED: FDA: Do not use recalled infant formulas tied to infections

Baby formula has already been scarce thanks to national supply chain issues, but there is even more stress out there as mothers across the country are now left in a bind to find alternative, safe formula or even breast milk.

"We strive to have a supply on hand that not only can take care of these premature infants but also other infants who might be healthier but are in the middle of a crisis like in a formula recall, said Kim Updegrove, the executive director of the Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin. 

Updegrove says the Austin milk bank received more requests for milk after the recall announcement.

The problem is there just isn't enough supply since their priority is more vulnerable babies or those in the hospital.

"2021 was a particularly difficult year to find milk donors," she added. "We had a 30 percent decline in the number of milk donors here."

Updegrove says they helped parents in need but only temporarily and it's important that they have more milk donations because of situations like the recall.

"We were able to dispense 970,000 ounces of milk in 2021 alone to about 197 hospitals and almost 400 babies in the community," she said. "We can do more if there are more milk donors."

Bustamante tells 6 News moms like her who are part of WIC aren't getting much help at this time. But what's worse, the formula that's supplied through the program is part of this recall too.

If you're interested in donating your breast milk, you can find more information here.

WIC sent out a mass message to all of their clients. wasn't very helpful. Though, but it was just saying to either contact the manufacturer or take it back to the store. But it didn't really offer an alternative like most of the time, like work people who are on work like low income or you know, just to help us out and they didn't give us an like an alternative choice as far as like receiving that help.

If your product is affected by the recall, do not use it and go to similacrecall.com for a refund or replacement, depending on how the product was acquired or the type of product. You should seek safe, alternative feeding options and talk to your pediatrician or healthcare provider. You can also call Similac customer service at 1-800-986-8540.

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