LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Parents across the nation are finding rows and rows of empty shelves as they search big and small retailers trying to find formula for their babies amid a national shortage.
Whether it's due to recalls, inflation or even supply chain shortages, parents say they're starting to grow worried.
"How big of a problem is this going to be?" Tyler Dennison asked. "I guess we just don't know right now. And it's a little scary."
Many stores have even started to add limits to the amount of baby formula a customer can purchases. CVS, Target and Walgreens have limited parents to just three containers per customer.
Parents like Dennison, who formula feed their children, are now at a crossroads on what to feed their baby as formula supply is lacking.
Dennison said although his son is taking to other foods like fruits and vegetables, "he still needs that formula."
Louisville organizations that help pregnant individuals say they are trying to keep formula stocked for their customers at no cost to them. However, due to the shortage and multiple recalls, it's proving to be very difficult.
"I do purchase quite a bit of formula," Emily Nolan, volunteer director for the Golden Arrow, said. "I'm having to make several trips asking for the types of formula we get asked for."
Officials from the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program in Louisville say they're stepping out of their normal operations to make sure the proper nutrition is available to families and their infants.
"We're doing things like offering different sizes of cans of formula, different brands that we don't typically do, but we're doing things like that to help moms try and feed their babies," Robin Gillespie, with WIC Louisville, said.
But when there are shortages there can also be families desperate to make the formula last.
Laura Serke is a registered dietitian at the University of Louisville's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
She said no matter how tempting it may be, to not dilute the formula with water or anything else to make it last longer.
"We definitely are concerned that we are going to have parents diluting down formulas which can be very dangerous," Serke said. "We've seen kids in the past in the emergency room having seizures because of diluted formula."
Parents like Dennison say they've also started researching different brands of formula but aren't quite sure how well it will work with their child.
"We're going to kind of roll the dice and see if he likes it. And you know, who knows what's gonna happen, but it's a little concerning," he said. "I know, there's a lot of parents out there in the same boat, and they might have to have specialty formulas, which just aren't available at all."