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Moms face more challenges during baby formula shortage

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Posted at 6:36 AM, May 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-20 10:52:11-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — KRIS 6 News heard from more than 400 viewers after posting a story about Coastal Bend health experts recommending going back to breastfeeding if you can't find formula.

“We may have a mom that’s a single mom, we might have a mom that had trouble getting pregnant and experienced fertility issues," said registered nurse and lactation consultant Laurie Beck. "A lot of the times those moms might struggle with milk supply. And we have moms who had multiples.”

Beck has worked at as a lactation consultant at Driscoll Hospital for over 30 years. She knows first-hand the challenges associated with breastfeeding, but, it is something she said encourages despite those challenges.

The National Library of Medicine reports 22.6 percent of women stop breastfeeding because of inconvenience or fatigue, and 21.6 percent stop due to concerns about milk supply.

“We can talk for hours on the benefits of breastfeeding, but there’s really about 100 ingredients in breast milk, and 50 in formula,” Beck said.

Beck also said if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Especially right now as we see empty shelves of baby formula.

“Some moms are at home thinking it’s going to get better, but it doesn’t get better,” she said.

Mary Sixta, a child-life specialist at Driscoll has a 3-month-old baby she’s breastfeeding right now, and said she has her own struggles.

“Pumping while coming back to work is hard and exhausting," she said. "It has been a lot easier than being at a place that doesn’t support that and unfortunately, we live in a country that lacks massive support.”

Sixta and Beck said they both agree that deciding whether or not to breastfeed is a personal choice that should be respected.

“You have this baby that now you’re in charge of taking care of and keeping alive," Sixta said. "Yet, you have to keep yourself fed and rested. They’re doing the best they can to keep their baby fed, and that’s the most important thing.”

The one thing Sixta said she wants expecting mothers to know, is there are resources available in the community, and those resources can make a difference once you bring home your baby.

“Just try to be open-minded and find those resources,” Sixta said.

Mom's Place at Driscoll Children's Hospital can answer your questions, click here to access its resources.

“Every nurse that’s in maternal child nursing can help with basic breastfeeding,” Beck said.

She also said that if you happen to produce more milk than you need, or if you have some stored away, you can donate it to the Driscoll Hospital milk bank to help other struggling moms. She said donated breast milk can't be older than six months, and advises against sharing breast milk with other mothers outside of the milk bank.

To learn more about donating breast milk, click here or call (512) 494-0800.