A "due to limited supplies" sign is shown on the baby formula shelf at a grocery store.

A "due to limited supplies" sign is shown on the baby formula shelf at a grocery store Tuesday, May 10, 2022, in Salt Lake City. Parents across much of the U.S. are scrambling to find baby formula after a combination of supply disruptions and safety recalls have swept many of the leading brands off store shelves.

Rick Bowmer / AP

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A nationwide shortage of baby formula is proving stressful for families in the Pacific Northwest. Ryan Hassan is a pediatrician with Oregon Pediatrics in Happy Valley. He says he’s been talking to his patients about practical solutions and counseling them on ignoring judgmental comments on social media about feeding babies with formula.

Meanwhile, the Northwest Mothers Milk Bank has been fielding more calls from people interested in donating breast milk due to the shortage, according to Executive Director Lesley Mondeaux. The milk bank serves families with a prescription for human breast milk, which means the organization prioritizes medically fragile babies. But the milk bank is also able to help others on a short-term basis, Mondeaux says, especially if there is an increase in supply. We hear from Mondeaux and Hassan about how families in the Pacific Northwest are coping with the formula shortage.

Editor’s Note: Our guest Dr. Ryan Hassan misspoke when he was talking about baby formula and the Oregon Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. The correct information is: The only way WIC participants receive formula is through local stores and pharmacies using a WIC-issued benefit card. Oregon WIC received approval from USDA to add over 80 different formula types and sizes to meet the needs of WIC infants affected by the formula shortage.

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