HOUSTON — With four kids, including a 6-month-old, it’s a full house for northwest Houston mom Ana Montesano.
But right now, like other infant mothers across the U.S., her supply of formula is running low.
“This is the one the doctor gave. It’s the sample size and this is the one my friend brought from abroad," she said.
The formula is for her 6-month-old son, Preston.
“I was going to exclusively breastfeed him, I thought. But then he ended up having a lip and tongue-tie and just a few other issues that kind of hurt my supply so I had to supplement. So I’ve been supplementing with Enfamil formula and that was hard to find," Montensano said.
The situation in the U.S. is so dire that a Department of Defense aircraft arrived in Indiana on Sunday carrying over 75,000 pounds of specialty infant formula from an FDA-approved facility in Europe.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was on hand to welcome the cargo.
"This shipment is going to essentially get off this cargo plane. Then the Federal Express folks are going to take it from there. They're going to deliver it to a distribution center that the Nestle, Gerber folks have here in Indiana, and then it's going to go on trucks and it's going to be delivered in hospitals and home health care clinics all across the country," Vilsack said.
It's enough for half a million bottles, but this batch is specifically for babies with allergies and it's expected to go to hospitals, pharmacies and doctor’s offices across the country.
“The store shelves are empty and everything is out of stock and even Amazon, my auto-order, they’ve canceled every one of them since May 2,” Montesano said.
She says Amazon hasn't been able to fulfill her subscription since then. Still, she’s doing what she can. Montesano continues to maintain her Cypress Moms Network Instagram page posting where local moms can find formula.
Moms have been sending pictures when they are at stores of any formula they see in stock and she's been sharing them on her Instagram stories for moms in need in the northwest Houston or Cypress area.
“Moms always rally together so well and I have seen a lot of support by moms,” Montesano said.
But she admits that there are some things that are even out of a mom’s hands.
“We are very resourceful but there’s only so much we can do. It’s scary to think there’s not really a true end in sight right now," Montesano said.
Vilsack said information on additional baby formula shipments will be announced in the coming days.