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Local lactation specialists weigh in on baby formula shortage

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SAGINAW, Mich. (WJRT) - The severe nationwide shortage of baby formula is putting parents in difficult positions when it comes to feeding their child.

With almost 50% of baby formula out of stock nationwide, lactation nurses are working even harder to help new moms with solutions.

“We've gotten many increased calls, and even patients within the hospital are coming to our breastfeeding clinic. It's a fear,” Hurley Hospital lactation consultant Kathleen Mataway said.

Mataway has worked with new moms and families for years but with the shortage of formula increasing her job has become even more important

“For a lot of women, it's not as natural and as easy as what you expect,” she said. “It's multifactorial, there are many challenges from the individual family, to society challenges.”

Over at Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw, lactation specialist Tammy Jennings sees these challenges constantly.

“There's things like metabolic disorders that the baby might have,” Jennings said. “Sometimes it's a family choice, or mom might not have enough milk supply, she may try and she might be struggling.”

For moms who can successfully breastfeed, Mataway says some don’t have a choice to continue when they return from maternity leave.

“Some women are protected with a pumping law, but we have some women who work for companies that don't, they'll return back to work at around six weeks and don't get a break, to pump or don't have adequate facilities to pump in,” she said.

Unable to find formula in stores, many parents are resorting to making it at home, which Jennings and Mataway say comes with its own risk.

“There can be a lot of nutritional imbalances in that kind of stuff that's made at home,” Jennys said. “We really just refer to the pediatrician to find out the options of what they can do.”

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