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Local milk bank sees influx of donations amid baby formula shortage

"We have been receiving so many calls that we're actually in a pause right now," said Jamie Lueders.

SHREWSBURY, Mo. — The fridge at Amber Sky Salon in Shrewsbury, Missouri is overflowing with bags of breast milk as many have responded to baby formula shortages.

"We have been receiving so many calls that we're actually in a pause right now," said Jamie Lueders, owner of Amber Sky Salon.

Lueders turned her shop into a milk depot, a drop-off point for donations through The Milk Bank, seven years ago after having trouble breastfeeding her oldest son.

Today, banks like hers have been a savior for parents as many battle baby formula shortages across the country caused by COVID, supply chain shortages, and the FDA's recall of several brands earlier this year.

Missouri is one of the states with an out-of-stock rate of 50 percent and above, with St. Louis Metro not far behind, according to data compiled by Datasembly.

"It is really important and very stressful for the parents when you can't find needed food for your baby," Leuders said.

Dr. Maya Moore at Mercy Hospital encouraged parents not to panic.

"Perhaps just because your brand may not be there at your local grocery store, or drug store," she said. "That understanding that all infant formulas are FDA-regulated and most are safe for most babies."

The physician added that while it might be tempting when you see blogs and online recipes, she said creating your own formula at home is a big no-no.

"It's a very specific mix of sugars and salts and minerals and energy that goes into those infant formulas,” she said.

There are workarounds.

“If your child is over six months of age, it’s ok to start them on water, complimentary foods like pureed foods, and once your child is able to chew and swallow little pieces of foods, making sure that they are soft and about the size of the tip of your finger,” she said.

Moms like Lueders are just happy to shine a light on the need for more milk.

"Hopefully we can make better strides in really providing moms with the resources that they need," she said.

With milk banks, health experts urge that families make sure they use fully accredited sources.

Other places that can help:

  • local WIC office if you're eligible
  • primary care provider who might be able to provide samples
  • enlist family and community members to assist in the search