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Baby formula shortage is impacting Indianapolis Milk Bank

Because of a recent dramatic increase in demand, the Milk Bank needs more donors than ever.

INDIANAPOLIS — Worried parents are still finding empty shelves as they search for baby formula.

They're stressed because some don't know where their baby's next meal will come from.

This shortage isn't only impacting shelves at the stores. It's also impacting The Milk Bank in Indianapolis.

During a typical month, The Milk Bank needs at least 82 new milk donors to sustain the supply for the region. Now because of the dramatic increase in demand, they need more donors than ever.

"There's nothing scarier not being able to provide for the basic needs of your infant and not being able to feed your child," said Freedom Kolb, executive director of The Milk Bank. 

The demand for breast milk is currently at an unprecedented level, and The Milk Bank here is struggling trying to keep up.

"This infant health crisis is more demanding on The Milk Bank than the COVID pandemic was. We are just seeing that level of surge right now. It can be frightening. It can also be refreshing that we can provide that solution for families," said Kolb.

RELATED: Baby formula shortage fueling spike in milk bank interest

Thanks to their army of moms, they have a stable milk supply right now. Kolb said it's critically important it get as many new donors as possible.

The goal is to maintain the vital supply for families and to keep up with the demand to save infants' lives.

RELATED: Facebook group helping local moms during formula shortage

"The time now is to keep our eyes on the babies and make sure they get what they need and provide relief to the families who are struggling," said Kolb. 

Marcy Lendaro is one of the mothers who answered the call to help. She was planning to end her breast milk journey but decided to keep going to help other mothers. She's currently working to get approved to be a donor.

Credit: WTHR

"When I see those empty formula aisles, it brings me to tears. To think about moms and dads who are searching for food for their babies, I can't think of anything more terrifying or more harrowing," said Lendaro. 

Lendaro said it's times like these the community needs to support one another.

"I would want someone like me to donate milk. I would want other mothers to help me feed my baby and kind of pour into the community," she said. 

Can't find your formula?

Here is what you can do if you can't find your child's formula:

Call your pediatrician and see if they have in-office baby formula samples.

You can also ask them to recommend a formula that may be more readily available and is similar to your infant's current one.

You can also check with a milk bank if your child's formula isn't available.

If your child is older than 6 months - in a pinch and only for a short time - you can give your child whole milk, but this shouldn't be your child's only source of nutrition due to the risk for anemia.

You can learn more more about The Milk Bank, including how to become a donor here

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