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Local doctor helping Northeast Ohioans find formula amid nationwide shortage

Baby Formula Shortage
Posted at 10:16 PM, May 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-16 09:26:47-04

CLEVELAND — Moms and dads across the country are now in crisis. Those with babies are trying to figure out where their child’s next meal is coming from because of a massive formula shortage. But we found a local doctor who is stepping in to help connect those in need with those who have it to give.

Dr. Jessica Madden is on a mission. She’s a newborn medicine and lactation specialist helping to connect families who have extra formula with those in need.

“It’s something you’d never think would happen in the United States, ever. Ever,” Madden said.

But the reality is, the country is in the midst of a severe formula shortage. It’s estimated that 40% of formulas are out of stock across the country. Pair that with the fact that 80% of babies will have formula in their lifetime.

“If this doesn’t get remedied quick, we are going to see babies starve. I mean absolutely,” she said.

Madden is the founder of Primrose Newborn Care. As early as February, she heard from moms having trouble finding the formula they needed for their babies. So, she started using her connections and social media.

“We had kind of a behind the scenes, I was matching up people who had formula with moms who are in need,” Madden said.

But just this week she discovered how dire things are getting.

“I was just shopping at Target, and I went down to the formula aisle, and it was basically empty. On all three shelves it was basically, like, seven canisters of formula left. That was it. And that was the moment I was, like, something has to be done,” she said.

Madden again leaned on her connections—and started searching for donations. She didn’t have to go far—picking-up cases of formula from her friends, the Leebows.

"I just heard about it, and we had some extra formula because he had transitioned to solid food,” Erin Leebow said.

Madden says she’s already dropped off formula to three families in need within the last 36 hours.

“I actually, just overnight, shipped a package down to a woman in Florida that reached out to me that was just desperate,” Madden said.

This doctor is asking those who can give, to do so.

“If you have extra formula, it’s going to be put to good use. Please don’t pitch it right now if it’s unexpired and unopened,” Madden said.

She’s also discouraging parents from using homemade formula recipes or diluting the formula you have to stretch it out. She says both are dangerous for babies.

“They can develop hyponatremia which is low sodium, which causes seizures, and they can die from that,” Madden said. “Reach out for help. Utilize the force of everything out there in terms of social networking right now. There are people that want to help and can. It’s just a matter of now, how do we coordinate everybody who’s in need?”

CLICK HERE to join Madden's local baby formula exchange.

RELATED: Biden administration launches website in response to formula shortage

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