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Baby formula shortage taking physical toll on some mothers trying to restart breastfeeding

Baby formula shortage taking toll on moms trying to breastfeed again
Baby formula shortage taking toll on moms trying to breastfeed again 02:38

NEW YORK -- The baby formula shortage is taking a physical toll on some mothers. The crisis is pushing some to find ways to start breastfeeding after they already stopped.

According to health experts, it's not a goal most women are able to achieve, CBS2's Astrid Martinez reported Friday.

"I've had to get a little bit flexible in what I'll give them. Luckily they don't have allergies. For moms who do have kids with allergies, this is catastrophic," said Janine Covello Good, a mother of four.

Good, who has 7-month-old twins, joins the thousands of families across the nation struggling to find baby formula since Abbott Nutrition shuttered its plant in Michigan due to bacterial contamination.

"It was like the worst timing because I had just reconciled that I was going to cut back on pumping and I started needing more and more formula, because one of those cans of formula, they go through that every single day," Good said.

Breastfeeding was taking a massive toll on Good's life.

"So for the first six months, all day all night, I pumped for about 20 minutes every three hours, cleaned all the pump parts, disinfect all of that, set my alarm to wake up at midnight, 3 a.m., 6 a.m., bring my pump everywhere I went with me. It was really, really tough," she said.

As the national baby formula shortage continues, doctors are not only concerned for the infants, but for the mothers' mental health as well.

"We try hard to balance the focus of breastfeeding is best. Some parents balance out. They might have stored breastmilk and they're alternating breast and formula. Some parents just really don't have enough of a supply to be able to do that. You should not feel guilty about the choices that you make if they're healthy, safe choices for your children," said Dr. Cindee Ivker of Cohen Children's Northwell Health Physician Partners.

As Good and her husband decide on who will run out to check nearby stores for baby formula, she can't help but be bothered by comments from people who suggest relactating her twins.

"This is one of the things that makes me very upset, because I don't think that most people realize how big of a time commitment that really is," Good said.

Experts say breastfeeding doesn't work for everyone, and suggesting otherwise only adds more stress to parents as the shortage of infant formula drags on.

Doctors say resuming breastfeeding requires a very rigorous pumping schedule and there is the possibility that a mother may never be able to create a milk supply.

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