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A mother of twins in Kentucky raises her hand to help parents like her who are searching and suffering amid a nationwide baby formula shortage.
Cierra Vos said she is determined to ensure the babies are fed as she faces the challenge of feeding her own children, a boy and a girl, just 9 months old.
In search of a formula, Cierra Vos, 26, a medical lab technician from rural Union County, Kentucky, drove to three different cities an hour away.
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After all that, she and her husband, Dalton Vos, were only able to locate two cans of the brand they use.
“We panicked,” Cierra Vos told Fox News Digital. “We realized that it was going to be a problem to find more.”
The couple’s twins, Rollyn and Landrie, were served formula and breast milk. When Vos tried to switch them to another brand, they started having poor stools, she said.
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Now they are served a more expensive brand that doesn’t cause acid reflux or digestive problems, according to Vos, who stopped breastfeeding when she returned to work.
“You might get three days off [one can]but that’s pushing it.”
You spend between $30 and $35 for a 19.5-ounce can of formula.
She consumes one can in two days, using about five tablespoons for a 7-ounce bottle; that number is doubled because she is feeding twins.
Vos said, “You might get three days off [one can]but that’s pushing it.”
“For most babies, switching brands of standard formula will have no adverse consequences,” Jenelle Ferry, MD, a neonatologist and director of infant feeding, nutrition and development at Pediatrix Neonatology of Florida, told Fox News Digital in a statement.
“In the cases of babies with special formulas, such as hydrolyzed formulas, consult your pediatrician for other brand options with similar characteristics,” he also said.
Ferry noted that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warns against trying to make your own formula.
“I’m pretty stocked right now, but I’m trying to barely use it. That way, I can give it to someone who needs it more than I do.”
Additionally, excess water in infant formulas can “retard growth and development” or “lead to significant health problems, including seizures,” according to the AAP.
It is recommended to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when preparing the formulas.
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Vos said her saving grace has been her mother-in-law, Tracy Cheatham, who has been mailing her formula for the twins from Central Florida.
“I’m pretty stocked now, but I’m trying to use it just barely,” Vos said. “That way, I can give it to someone who is more in need than I am.”
Vos said he’s been connecting with other parents on Facebook, exchanging ideas on how to combat the shortage by staying informed about places that have formula in stock.
“It’s very discouraging. You go in there – a lot of your cheaper formula is gone and a lot of your high-end organic natural formula is on the shelf,” he added. “As for your big cans or boxes, that’s gone.”
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Recently, Vos has been trying to support a mother of newborn twins.
You and Cheatham (her mother-in-law) have been looking for the woman’s brand of baby formula in stores.
Cheatham told Fox News Digital that the woman uses food stamps and is part of WIC (the government-run Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children under 5).
“If they just can’t find it anywhere else, I’ll go out and send it. It’s the least I can do to make sure these babies have formula.”
“If someone is on WIC, they have to walk into a store. That’s the only place they can physically get [formula]Cheatham said.
“Unfortunately, since young Cierra was trying to help, [parents on WIC] you can’t go online and ask for the formula because [those outlets] don’t take WIC.”
Cheatham said she’s had luck ordering formula on Amazon, where you can sign up for alerts about when brands are in stock.
He ended up sending the woman with newborn twins a pack of formula similar to the brand her own twin grandchildren use, since that was the only option Cheatham found in stock.
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So far, Cheatham hasn’t had a problem buying packs in bulk through Amazon; Both she and Vos said they are thankful that she is soon weaning the twin babies off the formula.
“I already felt the obligation to send [my son and daughter-in-law] diapers or formula, but to have someone who doesn’t have the funds to be able to do that or someone who doesn’t have the support system to be able to do that, I can see these moms saying, ‘What do I do? ‘ I can’t imagine being a mother right now.”
Cheatham said he will continue to offer to help strangers amid the shortage.
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“If they just can’t find it anywhere else, I’ll go out and send it,” he added. “It’s the least I can do to make sure these babies have formula.”
Vos echoed her mother-in-law’s words, offering to help other parents in any way she can.
“I hope they don’t go without eating,” he said of the young children.
“My heart aches for that. Check with your pediatrician. Check with your milk banks. Breast milk is donated every day.”
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Vos added: “Between my mother, my mother-in-law and my husband, we will do everything we can to help find something because we know how you feel firsthand.”
Vos said he encourages Americans to “buy what they need” in hopes of giving all parents better access to formula.