Moms helping moms: Underground formula trade thrives in the Tri-State

‘They’re just trying to make sure babies are fed.’
Published: May. 11, 2022 at 9:53 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A local Facebook group is helping to connect parents and baby formula as shortages persist around the Tri-State and nation.

Bella Allen is mother to 7-month-old Paisley, who was on Similac Alimentum formula, one of several types recently recalled by Abbott due to contamination concerns.

“I had 18 cans of formula, all recalled, and I was left scrambling,” Allen said Wednesday, adding, “The shelves are basically empty, everywhere.”

The desperation inspired Allen to create the NKY Formula Group on Facebook, where moms share what formula they need and what stores have in stock.

“You go to the store, you post a picture, you ask if anybody’s seen it, and if you’ve got cans to trade around that your kid couldn’t take, then post it and trade for them,” Allen explained.

The group is based in Northern Kentucky, but Allen clarifies it’s for anyone in the Tri-State.

Madison Wasicek is a member.

“It doesn’t matter if they know each other or not,” she said. “They’re just trying to make sure babies are fed.”

Members like Wasicek post photos of store aisles to help other moms with the process of elimination when it comes to finding formula.

“I’ve also helped a woman who needed Similac Advanced,” Wasicek said. “She came to my house to be able to pick it up.”

MORE | ‘It’s terrifying:’ Baby formula shortage throws Tri-State parents into uncertainty

“It’s amazing,” Allen said. “Moms who haven’t been able to find their baby’s formula without driving an hour away can now drive 10 minutes down the street and pick up a can.”

Wasicek is unable to breastfeed her 6-month-old son, Axel. It’s something Allen understands, saying it adds a sense of what she’s termed “mom guilt.”

Said Allen, “There’s moms like me who can’t produce, so we try our best to find the formula, and then it doesn’t help when there’s other moms who can breastfeed who say, ‘Well, why don’t you just breastfeed your child?’”

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