Making It in the Bay

Bay Area Mothers Scramble to Find Baby Formula

"When you go to all the stores within two hours of where you live and can't find it, it's very stressful"

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The Abbott Laboratories plant - which recalled its product and shut down after four babies developed a bacterial infection - reached an agreement to resume production as the nation faces a formula shortage.

Despite the good news, mothers in the Bay Area are wondering when will they see relief on store shelves and are taking the necessary measures to ensure formula for their babies.

NBC Bay Area spoke to a mother who had been to several drugstores and couldn't find formula. She enlisted help from friends and relatives across the nation to track down and send her formula for her baby.

"When you go to all the stores within two hours of where you live and can't find it, it's very stressful," said mother Katie Miller.

At a CVS in Fremont, they're limiting formula to three canisters per family and customers have to ask employees to get the products from behind a counter.

From the time Abbott restarts production, it will take from six to eight weeks before the product is available on the shelves.

In the meantime, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working on other ways to get formula to babies.

"We're taking a number of measures to get all manufacturers to step up production along with the Sturgis Plant and we're looking at importing products intended for other countries," said FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf.

At San Jose's Mother Milk Bank, which offers donated breast milk, the formula shortage is also having an impact.

"We have seen an increase in inquiries about donor milk based on the heightened attention on the formula shortage," explained Executive Director Jonathan Bautista.

Parents must have a doctor's prescription in order to get donated breast milk.

Not only is the demand for milk up 25 percent, but the number of moms wanting to donate breast milk is up, too. The milk bank executive director also attributes that in part to the nationwide formula shortage.

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