Toddlers born with lifelong condition that require specialized diet are exposed to ‘permanent life-long brain damage’ risk due to the baby formula shortage, mother says they are running out of supplies
Since the pandemic began, parents of babies are having hard times finding baby formula in stores, a shortage mostly caused due to the supply chain issues America faced. The baby formula shortage worsened since February, when several baby formula products were recalled over concerns about contamination, leaving parents desperate for months in obtaining baby formula supplies needed to feed their babies.
In the last few weeks, the problem escalated to a level that forced parents to find a solution to the problem on their own. Parents are more and more often driving hundreds of miles a day, go from store to store and from recently, they are joining Facebook groups dedicated in helping parents who are unable to find baby formula. While most of the parents solve the problem one way or another, A. Beichler, a mother of three kids, has much more serious problem when it comes to baby formula.
Speaking to People few days ago, Beichler said she is among those mothers who need to feed their babies with medical-grade formula because her two toddlers are born with a metabolic condition called classic phenylketonuria (PKU), in which their body is unable to process an amino acid found in protein. According to the desperate mother, her sons are required to follow specialized diet, ingesting only 2 grams of protein per day, otherwise, the toddlers’ lives will be put at risk.
Beichler has sticked to the rules and she has been ordering the specialized formula directly from the manufacturer, because the prescription-based specialized formula is not sold in the stores. The mother claims her package had always arrived on time, until earlier this month, when her oldest son counted the cases in the latest shipment box and the mother realized her middle son Taylor’s supply was missing. The mother was shocked as that was the very first time the shortage to arrive at her doorstep.
“I called them and they’re like, ‘Oh sorry, that’s on backorder.’ I was like, ‘What? Was anyone going to tell me? What am I supposed to do?’ ” she said to People. “I hung up the phone and immediately sent an email to our doctors, but no one had any answers. They still don’t have any answers. We have about a two-week supply left.”
The toddlers are 6 and 20 months old and their diet is 90% based on the special formula. Unlike other parents who will find baby formula for their babies in most of the cases, Beichler has no options left and will have to wait for another shipment directly from the manufacturer. If the manufacturer fails to provide supplies for the toddlers, the results will be ‘devastating and irreversible.’
“Our days are numbered. We have two weeks before we’re out of formula. I’m trying not to freak out. I’m trying not to think about it,” Beichler said. “I’m trying to get through each day as fast as I can and do what I need to do. The worst part is not knowing what’s next.” “There’s literally nothing I can do. I am helpless,” Beichler says. “I’ve done everything in my power that I can possibly do.”
Without the medical-grade baby formula, the toddlers will go from perfectly fine to having permanent life-long brain damage in a short period of time because the protein in the boys’ blood will quickly back up, acting as a neurotoxin in their brain. The mother added her children will lose their motor skills and if it affects their brain, their condition will be permanent.