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'$500 for 6 cans' | Houston-area mother shells out a small fortune to ship in baby formula from Peru

As the Biden Administration continues to scramble to restock store shelves, parents like Jhoana Hernandez say they're forced to spend money to feed their babies.

LIBERTY COUNTY, Texas — Despite pending shipments from overseas to the U.S., parents in the Houston area are still struggling to find cans of baby formula

At least one mother, Jhoana Hernandez, told KHOU 11 she was forced to make an expensive decision to feed her baby.

“I am the closest to God more than ever before,” said Hernandez in Spanish during a Zoom interview Friday. 

The 29-year-old Liberty County mother said she is praying and holding onto hope that she will continue to find the specialty food needed to feed her daughter who Hernandez calls, “my little miracle.”

Her daughter, Wendy, was born six months ago after Hernandez said doctors told her she wouldn’t be able to get pregnant. Hernandez shared she’s living with postpartum depression and is getting medical help to work through it. The forced search for infant formula is adding to her stress and worry. 

“I go to other stores. I go to Kroger. I go to HEB,” said the first-time mother who’s driven as far as Galveston in search of formula.

In May, KHOU 11 first shared the story of Hernandez’s search as she waited in line at a baby formula giveaway organized by U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. While waiting in line to receive the donation, Hernandez said she met other mothers who put her in touch with a parent in the South American country of Peru, where baby Wendy’s specialty formula is available for a price.

$500 for 6 cans of baby formula😳 Houston-area mama Jhoana Hernandez showed me the receipts for the shipment of specialty...

Posted by Melissa Correa KHOU on Friday, June 3, 2022

“Total, how much did I pay? For 6 cans I paid $500,” said Hernandez before she explained the international purchase will only feed Wendy for the next two weeks. Hernandez said the products came sealed and the labeling, while in Spanish, matches the product she normally buys here in the U.S. While the mother is nervous about product safety, she said right now she has no other options. 

“What am I going to do? What am I going to do? What am I going to do,” asked Hernandez. 

It’s the question millions of parents are asking as the Biden Administration scrambles to restock store shelves. The first two shipments of formula were flown into the U.S. last week. The White House confirms deliveries from the United Kingdom and Australia are expected next week. Manufacturers in Germany and Mexico are set to send formula later this summer.

"We understand there's more work to be done,” said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre earlier this week. “We understand what families are feeling."

Americans can now track President Biden’s response plan online, but Hernandez is focusing her time elsewhere. “I’m on Facebook pages, whatever Facebook pages that I can view,” as the new mother struggles to care for herself as she searches for ways to feed her baby.

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