More than 40 percent of baby formula was recently out of stock and could have serious consequences.
A mom of three boys is extremely worried about her children's health. Alexa Beichler's younger sons Jax, six months, who is "always smiling," and "sweet and independent" Taylor, 20 months, were born with classic phenylketonuria (PKU). The metabolic condition requires the babies to be on medical-grade formula for life. The country has been facing an acute formula feed shortage and it could spell disaster for many parents who have no choice other than to give their children formula feed. The percentage of out-of-stock formula has reached a high of 43 percent in the week ending May 8th, leaving parents stranded.
Beichler's babies' medical condition does not allow their body to process an amino acid found in protein. This is why the boys have to be on a specialized diet that limits them to two grams of protein a day. Their mom was in for a shock when she realized they won't have access to the special baby formula for Taylor. Her shipment was not complete and her middle son Taylor's supply was missing. "Sheer panic set in. I was like, 'Why am I missing two more huge boxes of Taylor's formula?'" the worried mom told PEOPLE. It was then she realized that the nationwide formula shortage had finally arrived at her doorstep. While many desperate parents have been frantically searching the shelves of their local grocery store, Beichler's situation was even more stressful as the prescription-based formula can only be supplied through the manufacturer.
Mother Makes Heartbreaking Plea amid Formula Shortage as Sons Face Irreversible Brain Damage https://t.co/KfHscQjMnq— People (@people) May 25, 2022
"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. "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." Almost 90 percent of her two sons' daily nutrition comes from the family's dwindling supply of medical formula. Now she is terrified that the results will be devastating and irreversible when her sons run out of their specialized formula soon. "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. Over the past month, stress and anxiety is all I've felt. I literally go to bed thinking, 'What are we going to do tomorrow?' It's not like I can give them cow's milk because that's too much protein. I can't pour extra water in their formula to stretch it. There's literally nothing I can do. I am helpless. I've done everything in my power that I can possibly do."
The closure of a single formula-making plant sent parents, the government and a multibillion-dollar industry into panic. https://t.co/sAvqX6g5OK— USA TODAY Money (@USATODAYmoney) May 27, 2022
The stressed mother explained that the situation is so terrifying for her because the protein in the boys' blood will quickly back up—acting as a neurotoxin in their brain—without the medical-grade formula. "In a matter of days, they can go from being just fine to having permanent life-long brain damage. Their quality of life will go to zero as they lose their fine and gross motor skills. If it affects their brain, that will be forever and that, that, is terrifying," she said.
Representational Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Thanasis Zovoilis