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'Absolutely terrifying': Midlands mom frustrated by baby formula shortage

Power in Changing, a Columbia diaper bank, is offering formula in limited quantities to families in need. Doctors also share tips on where to find the product.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Seven months ago, Amelia came into the life of Hailey and John McLeod and brightened their world.

"After trials and tribulations we finally had a baby," Hailey McLeod said.

Lately, they've been facing a new challenge with baby formula hard to find.

It's a nationwide issue that's hitting close to home for the Sumter mom and her family.

RELATED: White House launches webpage to help families find baby formula

"It's been absolutely terrifying," Hailey McLeod said. "Being one of the moms that really did want to actually breastfeed, but then being told that you couldn’t… and then not being able to find the formula is really scary.”

Credit: Hailey McLeod
Hailey and John McLeod

Whether online, in person, or miles away, Midland's families say finding baby formula is no easy task.

According to Lexington Pediatric Practice, switching brands could be an option for those using a basic, infant formula.

Some doctor's offices may also have samples for those in need.

RELATED: Looking for baby formula? Here's what doctors say to consider

"If I can’t find the sensitivity one, I’m at a loss because she won’t drink anything else," Hailey McLeod said.

Power in Changing, a diaper bank in Columbia, is working to help, after seeing a spike in interest amid the shortage.

"We're one of few organizations that still has formula, baby products and where there's no shortage," Executive Director Ayanna White said. "So, we've been supplying the community with three cans per family of formula for their children."

Dr. Tisha Felder, a women's health researcher, said toddler formula or cow's milk could be an option for older children, but parents should speak to their child's pediatrician before trying these or any other options.

RELATED: Medical experts warn against homemade baby formula as shortages continue

For pregnant or new mothers considering breastfeeding, Dr. Felder said the S.C. Breastfeeding Coalition can be a resource for education on the topic. 

Midlands Healthy Start through Prisma Health is also an option, she says, along with support groups and medical providers.

Dr. Felder leads the group Mocha Mamas Milk, tailored to African American moms, with virtual education courses. Details can be found on the group's Facebook page.

As federal lawmakers work to address the shortage and ramp up supply, the community is rallying together with hopes the solution comes sooner than later.

RELATED: Parents swap, sell baby formula as Biden focuses on shortage

"Any time that I go to the store I reach out and I say, ‘Hey, I’m going to the store. What formula are you guys on?,'" Hailey McLeod said, "and they do the same thing.”

Those interested in receiving formula or other baby resources from Power in Changing can visit the nonprofit at 2638 Two Notch Road, Suite 116, Columbia, SC.

It's open Monday - Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.