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'What am I going to do?' Anxious parents in the Chicago area worry about baby formula shortage

Anxious parents in the Chicago area worry about baby formula shortage 02:25

MELROSE PARK, Ill. (CBS) -- COVID-19 continues to leave some shelves empty because of supply issues.

This time, a critical product for new parents -- baby formula -- is in short supply. Walgreens and Target are the retailers getting hit hard with the shortage right now.

As CBS 2's Asal Rezaei reported a Walgreens in Melrose Park has supply issues to the point where it's limiting how much formula people can buy. There are signs in the baby product aisle that say they are limiting purchases of baby and toddler formula to just three per transaction. its an issue we're seeing at locations here in the suburbs and the city

It's a product many new parents depend on that's becoming harder and harder to find. Some shelves once filled with baby formula are empty at a Target in the Loop as more shelves are bare at a Target in Melrose Park.

Employees said with the February recall of certain lots of Similac and the supply shortage of other baby formulas, there's no telling when the next shipments will come in.

Samantha Corey, a mother to four-month-old twins in Munster Indiana, said she's been frantically searching for formula since her babies were born.

"I've been up at night, wondering what I'm going to do," asked Corey, who added that she's not alone.

CBS News reports three quarters of babies in the U.S. use formula within their first six months. Corey said she is feeling extremely helpless right now.

"What are we supposed to do? There's no answer. What are we supposed to do if we cant find the formula," asked Corey.

Walgreens said it's not only an issue of high demand and low supply, but also challenges with sourcing ingredients, packaging hang-ups and labor shortages.

At a Walgreens in Melrose Park, the supply so low, signs limit customers to only three products at a time. A Walgreens store in the Loop is simply marking some products as temporarily out of stock.

For moms like Corey with more than one baby on formula, the purchase limit is making things even harder.

"So what am I doing? I'm starting to hoard. I'm starting to scout we're going further out. I'm going to areas where I know that there's a low population. what am I doing, you know, it's unreal."

CBS 2 asked the managers at the Target stores and Walgreens when we can expect to see shipments of baby formula come in. They weren't able to give a specific timeline and said they're just waiting for answers like everyone else. 

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