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Baby formula plant to start producing again

Abbott has reached an agreement with the FDA to resume production of baby formula, but it could still take weeks to stock store shelves.

MINNEAPOLIS — There's a possible big step in ending the nationwide baby formula shortage.

On Monday, Abbott and federal health officials agreed on plans to restart production at an Abbott plant that had been shutdown and investigated over bacteria possibly linked to infant illnesses.

However, it could take up to eight weeks before more stock is shipped to stores and that's making some parents nervous and others ready to help.

"I can't imagine being in that place, being nervous about being able to provide food for my baby," said Katie Zadronzny, who's mom to a toddler. 

She says she was fortunate to be able to breast feed, but that's not always an option for everyone.

"We all know it's not that easy. Breast feeding is a lot of work," said St. Cloud-based doula Paula Roufs. "I felt really compelled to make sure people knew there were options out there, they can ask for help."

Roufs says in the midst of the deficit, a parent's immediate option is donor breast milk.

"There's a huge community of people who care and want to help and are going to rally if we have to," said Roufs.

She posted about several local organizations, including baby cafes and milk banks — even individuals, like Zadronzny, who donate their extra milk, usually asking for little in return.

In fact, Zadronzny says she's considering starting to pump again just to help people in need.

"I wanted to be able to help other families, start at the community level and see what I can do," said Zadronzny. "It's pretty incredible what exists for milk sharing."

Roufs suggests increasing your protein and fat intake if you're trying to over produce, as well as drinking different galactagogue teas and herbs. She also recommends using a lactation consultant.

As for milk donor groups, Roufs says Facebook is one place to start looking.

She suggests Eats on Feets, Human Milk 4 Human Babies and Le Leche League International, all of which have Minnesota chapters.

Several senators recently sent a letter to the Infant Nutrition Council of America, asking the agency to make every effort to get families the formula they need. The INCA is an industry association of manufacturers of infant formulas and toddler nutritional drinks.

The group's executive director, Robert Rankin, sent KARE 11 this statement on Friday:

Members of the Infant Nutrition Council of America (INCA) are committed to meeting the needs of families who rely on infant formula—it is their top priority. Supply chain challenges, including impacts on transportation, labor, and logistics and a recent product recall, have impacted infant formula availability. Infant formula manufacturers are actively working with suppliers, distributors, retailers and state agencies to ensure availability and access to infant formula products, to quickly address the needs of babies everywhere. Parents and caregivers should always obtain infant formula from a safe, reliable source and discuss feeding-related questions with a healthcare provider.

Families who believe they qualify for the WIC program are encouraged to contact their local WIC agency. INCA also reminds families that they can order infant formula for home delivery directly from online retailers. Be sure to consult a child’s pediatrician on all infant feeding options. Commercial infant formulas from INCA member companies are safe and designed to provide babies with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development.

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