BRYAN, Texas — Beth Collins can often be found protecting her community as a volunteer firefighter in Snook. When not dousing flames, she’s spending all waking hours raising four children – including three-month-old Westyn.
Collins has breastfed all her babies, but when her body stopped producing milk for Westyn, her pediatrician recommended her to a specific formula brand – a brand she can’t easily buy like she used to.
“My pediatrician’s office was able to give me a few samples of what he’s on, and then some other moms were able to tell me where to find some because they saw it themselves," Collins recalled. "So I went around to four stores yesterday and was able to get a couple of weeks' worth, actually.”
Collins connected with other moms on Facebook, such as Caldwell-based photographer Renee Marek Crockett. Crockett made a plea to the Brazos Valley women’s Facebook group, 'Bryan College Station Women Connect,' about her niece living in Dallas, who’s been panicking to find the formula. This young mother’s baby is allergic to her breast milk and needed hypo-allergenic formula.
“[My niece] was down to, I want to say a couple of cans," Crockett said. "They had gone to the doctor’s office, and [the doctor] gave them a few samples.”
Crockett and Collins are both part of a small Facebook group created by Collins just this week, called 'Baby Feeding Support.' As of Thursday afternoon, the group has more than 40 members. Parents in the group help each other trade and find formula or breast milk.
“They can post where they see products, and someone else in that area can see it and know where to find the right [formula]," Collins explained. "Or if someone has questions such as, 'hey I really need this formula for my baby - have y'all seen it?' then we can help those people find that specific one.”
According to WIC of the Brazos Valley, the area has seen a rise of families in need of formula. WIC does provide lactation education and care and gives formula to parents with limited resources.
Crockett noted that as her niece has struggled in her search for formula, and as Crockett can’t find any breast milk banks in Brazos County, the support of moms in Aggieland has truly been a rescue. This weekend she'll be giving her niece the formula she received through Facebook.
"Any time anyone needs anything, these women are wonderful," Crockett said. "I’ve had three people already donate those exact cans.”
WIC representatives told KRHD that they are encouraged that the shortage may end soon, and have already started to see formula being restocked.
To join the formula exchange Facebook group, visit the following link: