Mums frustrated with baby formula shortage
TOOWOOMBA mum Janet Folker has resorted to buying her baby's formula online after struggling to find it on supermarket shelves.
Seven-month-old Emalee Folker was originally breast fed until it was discovered she was lactose intolerant at eight weeks.
Since then it has been a nightmare for Mrs Folker to find and stock formula for Emalee.
Demand in China for Australian baby formula has risen since 2008 when melamine contamination killed six infants and made thousands ill.
Most supermarket chains and chemists such as Chemist Warehouse, Coles, Woolworths and Aldi have introduced a tin limit to prevent a national shortage, after people started to bulk buy to resell them online to Chinese consumers.
Despite the tin limitation, some brands are still constantly sold out.
Mrs Folker has found it almost impossible to find the brand her midwife recommended Nutricia Aptamil Allerpro Gold+.
She said she was frustrated to find out it was due to people buying formula in bulk and shipping it to China.
"When I first started looking, I couldn't find it (the formula) anywhere. I looked all over Toowoomba and got family to look in Brisbane and the Gold Coast but had no luck," she said.
"I hadn't actually heard of the shortage until I started really hunting around.
"I know the formula Emalee needs isn't the most common brand but it is still frustrating not being able to easily buy it locally.
"I don't know if it is because stores aren't enforcing the limits or people are just buying it the second it becomes available.
"It's good stores have introduced the limits but they need to stick by them otherwise Australian mums will struggle.
"Some people can't breastfeed and some people choose not to breastfeed so their babies need formula.
"Not everyone can shop online so if there is no formula for us to buy in store then some babies won't have food."
Toowoomba mum Rebecca Harlet buys A2 Platinum Formula for her 10-month-old daughter Sophia.
She said while her preferred brand was in stock most of the time, it was still stressful not knowing if she would turn up to the shops to see empty shelves.
"I have had to shop around a few times because Coles was out," she said.
"The tin limit needs to be strictly enforced otherwise it's going to add unnecessary stress to mums.
"I am part of a few mothers groups and I know I'm not alone in thinking this. The formula in our grocery stores and chemists is for Australia babies - everything needs to be done to make sure it stays in Australia."