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Valley moms turn online to find formula, warn of potential overcharging

Infant formula
Posted at 5:08 PM, May 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-22 01:19:39-04

PHOENIX — Sunday the first shipment under “operation fly formula” will arrive in the U.S.

Saturday store shelves across the Valley were still bare as parents hope more product would arrive quickly.

One of those moms is Trisha McAloon.

She and her girls, Iris and Logan, are happy to be home from the hospital.

“They were a little premature,” said McAloon.

The twins had some feeding difficulties and couldn’t come home for about two months, finally getting to leave the hospital in April.

“[Iris] came home a week after Logan, because she had to get a little feeding tube in her belly,” said McAloon.

It was hard to keep up pumping with twins and visits to the NICU, so McAloon switched to formula not knowing how overwhelming the search would be.

“When I went to six or so stores that one night, I came home with three little containers,” said McAloon.

McAloon and her family were recently down to just one can of formula. She told ABC15 that amount will only feed her twins for four days.

“This is our stockpile,” said McAloon showing ABC15 the cans she now has.

Trisha turned to Facebook finding a mom that had slowly gathered formula for her baby while she was pregnant.

“Her son could only take the liquid, that’s why she sold me her cans,” said McAloon. “So she charged me only $20 a can.”

The mom of three also found a few other local moms to buy from through social media. McAloon said messaging and scheduling meet-ups was still a workload.

While trying to find the formula she needed, McAloon did see other moms trying to sell their cans for more than the typical price.

“This other one said no 40 to 50, so she tried to upcharge it a little,” said McAloon. “But I’ve heard horror stories like trying to get a little bit more for it, and I thought just why.”

The BBB this month put out a warning about potential online scams involving formula.

The bureau recommends parents that are turning to online retailers take steps like, searching their website and using a credit card when making purchases.

Pediatricians told ABC15 some parents have had success ordering product online, but it’s a method that requires careful checking and a trusted retailer.

“You can order your formula online kind of cutting out the middleman between the warehouse and the store front,” said Dr. Gary Kirkilas with Phoenix Children’s.

Which is also something McAloon also did, but it took about a month to arrive. Now she’s hoping she has enough to make it through until supplies are back up.

“I do not ask for help from people, but I’m not going to let my babies go hungry,” said McAloon.

As she gets more, McAloon is also looking for moms in need. She’s sold some of her cans to other desperate parents to make sure no child is going hungry.