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Infant formula scarce on St. Louis store shelves

First, some brands of formula were recalled, and now there is a serious shortage.

ST. LOUIS — First a recall, now a shortage. Infant formula is scarce on store shelves throughout the country. 

"It's not a luxury," Melinda Monroe the CEO of Nurses for Newborns tells 5 On Your Side, "it's a must-have."

Parenting educators like Monroe and her team at Nurses for Newborns stress that juice or regular milk can't stand in for formula. 

"Watering down formula is a dangerous thing," Monroe says, "Particularly for a very young baby and can cause water toxicity which can be very dangerous for the baby's brain."

Formula is critical, but keeping it on pantry shelves is a real problem. Monroe says there is a significant shortage in St. Louis stores. 

Jessica Krater, Program Coordinator for Crisis Nursery, seconds Monroe's statement.

"We've had a lot of parents who have come to the door that just can't find it for miles and miles away."

Crisis Nursery does have some formula to give to parents in need, but specialty mixes are hard to find. 

"It's scary," Krater says, "it's really scary because we don't know if those babies are going to be able to eat, to grow, when their next meal is going to be."

If your baby's specific formula is out, there are limited options. Monroe recommends checking with your pediatrician to see if an equivalent formula is available.

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