Louisiana mom of twin preemies who gets baby formula via Facebook says people ‘forgot’ about shortage

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As the baby formula shortage continues across America, a Louisiana mother who relies on a Facebook group to obtain the formula she needs for her premature newborns wants to remind others that the crisis is still dire — and that it should not be buried or ignored.

“We were put in a position that no mothers should be put in,” Amber Bergeron of Sorrento, Louisiana, told Fox News Digital. 

“We feel helpless. We feel like, as a community, we are trying to take care of this instead of [the right people] stepping in,” she added. “People are not paying attention to what’s really going on here and the severity of it, but it’s still happening. It’s like they just forgot.”

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She went on, “Formula is not something that should be gone without … and the fact that we have had problems feeding our babies and it’s going on nationally, that’s ridiculous. That’s disgusting to me because I’m sure these politicians’ babies eat,” she said. 

“I’m sure they find a way.”

Amber Bergeron’s twin babies Sky and Storm, two months old, were born prematurely in April 2022. They require special formula for their nutritional needs.
(Amber Bergeron)

Bergeron, a Sorrento resident, said she and her family were first affected by the formula shortage not long after her twins — daughter Sky (who has a moderate heart defect) and son Storm — were born on April 10, four weeks premature

Her babies spent nearly two weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Each arrived weighing 5 pounds, 3 ounces.

Both babies had iron deficiencies — and they each lost one pound.

Bergeron was unable to find the brand of formula recommended by her family pediatrician that provided the necessary higher nutrition levels for preemies, she said. At one point Bergeron was down to one can — enough to feed the babies for just one day. 

“The other formula have more nutrients, vitamins D, E, K and iron that the other formulas don’t have,” said Bergeron, who has four children. 

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After Sky and Storm were discharged from the hospital, their blood work results showed that both babies had iron deficiencies — and they each lost one pound. Bergeron said this happened because she had no choice but to offer her twins another formula brand that didn’t include the extra vitamins.

 “I’m sure these politicians’ babies eat. I’m sure they find a way.”

— Amber Bergeron to Fox News Digital

Bergeron said doctors do not recommend that she breastfeeds, as she is taking prescription medication. Prior to the birth of her twins, she was unable to stock up on formula because she had no way of knowing which brand would accommodate their health needs.

Bergeron said she and her husband, Craig, spend $500 per month to feed their twins. She’s gone as far as contacting the hospital where Sky and Storm were born to ask to buy formula from them, but officials told her it was against policy to sell to her, she said.

Bare shelves are seen at a store in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, area. 

Bare shelves are seen at a store in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, area. 
(Leann Westman)

“When I was down to that one can, I was so desperate and beside myself,” she added.

The baby formula shortage has taken a toll on many American families over a period of months this year. 

The shortage has been due to labor and supply chain disruption, product recalls and the related manufacturing plant shutdown of Abbott Nutrition’s factory in Sturgis, Michigan.

Abbott Nutrition is one of the four major baby formula producers in the U.S. Its competitors include Nestle USA, Mead Johnson Nutrition and Perrigo Pediatrics.

These store shelves are nearly empty due to the baby formula shortage in this country this year.

These store shelves are nearly empty due to the baby formula shortage in this country this year.
(Fox News Digital)

Parents and caregivers have resorted to alternative solutions, such as buying formula online or driving out-of-state in search of formula

Many parents have joined social media groups to sell and swap formula, including Bergeron herself, who ended up meeting Leann Westman, another mom. 

Parents post alerts for each other

Westman is a Baton Rouge mother who helps four other women run the Facebook group known as “Formula Spotted 225.” On the page, parents post alerts when store shelves are restocked with formula.

When Bergeron reached out to the group after her twins were born, Westman replied.

“It makes me angry that five women in Baton Rouge did what the government couldn’t do, and we’re feeding babies in our area.”

— Leann Westman to Fox News Digital

“She immediately contacted me and explained she was going to exhaust all options to make sure my babies were going to be fed,” Bergeron said of Westman. 

“Miss Leann was able to take care of me when I was down to one can [of formula].”

Westman said that Victoria Greer, another Louisiana mom, started the group for friends looking for formula.  

The two women connected after Greer noticed that Westman was posting photos of stocked shelves for her own Facebook friends. Westman had also been searching for formula for her own daughter, who is 11 months old.

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Westman became a group administrator and it “snowballed from there,” Westman told Fox News Digital in a telephone interview.

She now has a baby formula pantry in her own home and is helping 10 to 15 mothers per week.

Leann Westman of Baton Rouge poses with her 11-month-old daughter. Westman said she will do all she can to help other parents who are struggling with the baby formula shortage in America.

Leann Westman of Baton Rouge poses with her 11-month-old daughter. Westman said she will do all she can to help other parents who are struggling with the baby formula shortage in America.
(Leann Westman)

“It makes me angry that five women in Baton Rouge did what the government couldn’t do, and we’re feeding babies in our area,” Westman said.

Westman has tried addressing her local politicians about the issue; she dialed into a town hall meeting in May to discuss the shortage. She said, however, that the main topics brought up on that particular call were taxing Social Security and dredging canals to protect flooding.

“Those things can wait,” Westman said. “Babies can’t wait for their next meal.”

Westman's baby formula pantry is inside her home amid the nationwide shortage. The stay-at-home mother accepts baby formula and monetary donations and works with other volunteers through Facebook.

Westman’s baby formula pantry is inside her home amid the nationwide shortage. The stay-at-home mother accepts baby formula and monetary donations and works with other volunteers through Facebook.
(Leann Westman)

Westman said she’s helped mothers as far away as Mississippi. She either “meets them in the middle” or invites them to visit the baby formula pantry. Westman and her fellow Facebook group members collect donated cans.

She said that on one particular day, a woman drove for roughly 40 minutes to pick up a can of formula — and kindly asked Westman for a bottle of water. 

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“As soon as I gave it to her, she mixed the formula because her baby was screaming,” Westman recalled. 

“In our country in 2022, what we as Americans are reduced to — it makes me sick.”

Westman's baby formula pantry, which is inside her home, helps multiple families each week.

Westman’s baby formula pantry, which is inside her home, helps multiple families each week.
(Leann Westman)

Westman said she offers each family that she meets for the first time either one can — or she encourages them to take only what they need. 

After that, she charges a lower rate for the formula and uses the money to restock the pantry. She also accepts monetary donations, which she said she also uses to purchase more formula.

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Bergeron said that Westman drove 30 minutes to meet her and gave her eight free cans of formula. Now, Bergeron pays Westman $15 per can — $5 cheaper than stores are charging for her brand of formula. 

Amber Bergeron said she is down to 10 cans of baby formula for her infant twins, which equates to 10 days of feedings.

Amber Bergeron said she is down to 10 cans of baby formula for her infant twins, which equates to 10 days of feedings.
(Amber Bergeron)

“I’m forever grateful for this group as well as family, friends and even strangers to make sure these babies are fed,” Bergeron said, adding that she and Westman have become friends.

Bergeron recently received 19 cans of formula from her parents and some friends.

She’s now down to 10 cans. “That means 10 days [of feedings],” she said.

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