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'I Don't Really Know How We're Making It': Sacramento Is Hardest-Hit Metro By Baby Formula Shortage

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The baby formula shortage is getting worse in Northern California, and recent research shows Sacramento is ranked as the hardest-hit metro area in the country.

While the government is shipping formula to the U.S. and a formerly-closed baby formula plant is running again, families say they can't wait much longer.

Most retailers already placed limits on buying formulas at stores.

"When I go to the store, I definitely try to get more than one or two cans of formula because of the shortage," said Lourdes Gutierrez of North Highlands. She's a mother to a ten-month-old boy.

Some families are buying any brand.

"I don't want to hoard formula either because I know people are doing but just grabbing one or two cans when I can," said Hannah Maddalena of Yuba City who has a five-month-old son.

Data shows the baby formula shortage in Sacramento reached a grim benchmark.

Bloomberg reports one in five states is 90 percent out of baby formula. It used numbers from research firm Datasembly which reports Sacramento's out-of-stock rate is at 95 percent. By far, it's the worst shortage in any metro area across America.

Could a bright spot be on the horizon?

"It's coming. But yes, you may have to go to the store every day to look for a can here and there," said Dr. Krystle Balduzzi. "Or really employ the use of family and friends."

The Stockton-based pediatrician is accepting donations for distribution, even to non-patients, at her practice Balduzzi Pediatrics.

Sometimes, parents swap formulas to avoid upset stomachs.

"Younger babies are definitely more sensitive to formula changes. Older babies, I think, do much better," she said.

Dr. Balduzzi says she knows some parents are making their own formula which she strongly advises against. Recently, she even provided care to newborn twins who had only been fed rice and water. Such actions speak to the desperate measure some families are taking to feed their children.

While production ramps up to meet demand, moms are trying to remain hopeful the shortage ends soon.

"I don't really know how we're making it but we are," Maddalena said.

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