Central Texas moms forced to change plans to feed babies amid formula shortage

Published: May. 19, 2022 at 1:04 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Amid the national baby formula shortage, many Central Texas families are having to go to extreme lengths to feed their babies.

Amelia Hegefeld, a mother of two from Bremond, is struggling to feed her six-week-old daughter Teagan.

“I tried breast feeding and it didn’t work, and so I really honestly didn’t really know how formula was in a shortage until I actually started having to buy it,” Hegefeld told KWTX Wednesday. “In a situation like this you want to be able to produce the best for your child but you can’t, and you wouldn’t think in a million years you’d have a formula shortage and you’d be worried how to feed your baby.”

When she wasn’t producing enough breast milk, she switcher her daughter to formula.

“I got depressed because I wasn’t producing what I needed to to feed her in the first place, so that’s why I stopped and went all formula,” said Hegefeld. “Now I’m realizing, with the formula shortage, it’s not really an option to do full formula.”

Although she quit breast feeding two weeks ago, now she’s trying to relactate so she can feed her daughter.

“That way, at least if I don’t have formula, then I can fall back on that,” said Hegefeld.

However, it’s a slow process, she says.

“Any little bit right now, every little drop is gold right now,” said Hegefeld. “I’m trying to pump every three hours or feed every three hours, so it’s been a very stressful situation, I would have never thought that this would come to this.”

Baby nutrition expert Lauren Sams has been helping Hegefeld, and other Waco-area moms, transition back to breast feeding amid the shortage.

“There’s so much worry, so much fear, so much panic, especially for the moms who breast feeding is not currently an option,” Sams said about her current and potential clients.

Sams is a pediatric registered dietician and internationally board-certified lactation consultant.

“With being both I get to help both on the formula side and breast milk side, starting solids, transitioning to cow’s milk, basically anything your baby needs in the first year of life, and really until they’re 18, I can help with that,” said Sams. “I help moms grow their babies, it’s basically the best job in the world.”

But not all growing is easy she says, especially restarting the lactation process.

“That is something that I’m helping a few moms out with currently, and it is a very, honestly, gruesome process,” said Sams. “Often times if a mom stopped breast feeding for some reason, that reason was likely the result of a struggle she had, and so relactating is just not that easy, I just hope to support her in those decisions and help make that process a little bit easier.”

She’s also helping another group of moms who are now choosing to breast feed longer increase their supply.

“There are also moms that are deciding to continue breast feeding because of this formula shortage when otherwise they would have weaned and moved on,” said Sams.

For parents seeking help, Sams says she recommends they reach out to pediatricians to see if they have formula samples or to someone like her who can help find and optimize formula and provide other safe feeding options.

“I’m very fortunate because with my background, I really feel like I’m able to help these moms,” said Sams. “I know these formulas, I know these substitutes like the back of my hand, I know when a mom can switch from one type of formula to another type of formula, and also help them with the breast feeding side of that.”

Copyright 2022 KWTX. All rights reserved.