San Antonio nonprofit takes on infant formula shortage to help parents

Any Baby Can is pivoting its services to help find new ways to source formulas for all infants, not just those with special needs

SAN ANTONIO – Mothers nationwide and in San Antonio may feel backed against a wall looking for safe options to feed their newborns formula.

But some nonprofit organizations, like Any Baby Can, are coming to the rescue to help in this crisis.

Any Baby Can is pivoting its services to help find new ways to source formulas for all infants, not just those with special needs.

“Our call logs tripled this month in terms of needs in getting access to formulas you cannot find on the shelves right now,” said Any Baby Can CEO/President Elyse Bernal.

The nonprofit has partnered with a durable medical goods company to locate alternative formula manufacturers that are safe, but for whatever reason cannot be found on local store shelves. Using the research of dieticians, these alternative sources are being matched up with babies who need specialized formulas. The alternative formulas are vetted for safety, and then Any Baby Can begins the process of helping with the transition.

Any Baby Can Project Director Melanie Rios said it’s important to bring your pediatrician into the process, since they know your child best.

“If your provider says that’s OK, then we provide you with samples and see if your pediatrician approves it, and then you can attempt to try these and we see what happens from there.”

Minor upset stomach is not uncommon during the transition, but it should ease up in a few days.

Any Baby Can says the alternative formula is a safer option than the dubious sources for formula and breast milk, as well as recipes for do-it-yourself formulas that can be found on the internet.

Rios warns that you should never take something from somebody you don’t know, or try to make up your own version of formula from a recipe found on the web.

Rachell Jacob, a neo-natal dietician at University Hospital and UT Health San Antonio, said even though the harm may not show itself immediately, there’s a good chance your child’s growth would be affected gradually.

“There is risk of contamination, so a risk of illness in reference to contamination of how that is being mixed in, along with not providing the appropriate nutrients that infants need,” Jacob said.

Almond, coconut, cow, or goat milks fall in the same category. Jacob said the nutritional value from those milks is wrong for infants six months or younger.

“They have a higher protein content and mineral content that can really ultimately be harmful to your baby’s kidneys, along with really lacking critical nutrients for our infants, such as folic acid, folate, B12, iron, vitamin D, just to name a few,” she said.

Hospitals were also faced with the same struggle of finding a safe formula supply. But University Hospital pivoted early on and began finding new sources for their specialized formulas. Now, with Any Baby Can’s network, you can too.

You can get more information by Any Baby Can at 210-227-0170 or online. You can also call the San Antonio Food Bank at 210-431-8326.

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About the Author:

Ursula Pari has been a staple of television news in Texas at KSAT 12 News since 1996 and a veteran of broadcast journalism for more than 30 years.