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A Maryland mom of four children, including 10-month-old twins, is having a heck of a time finding baby formula for her little ones — and she’s really, really angry at the Biden administration right now.
Kayla Zurenko and her husband, Cody, of Calvert County, Maryland, have four children — 7-year-old Gavin, 5-year-old Grayson and 10-month-old twins named Gabriella and Gannon.
“Where am I going to find formula?”
“I have enough formula for two babies for 14 days,” she told Fox News Digital about her current supply. “Where am I going to find formula after that?” she added, becoming upset as she spoke.
The couple live about an hour south of Washington, D.C.
Husband Cody works for Tesla, while Kayla has been a stay-at-home parent since giving birth to their twins last June. The couple enjoy watching their oldest child play baseball; Kayla Zurenko volunteers at the boys’ school as much as possible.
The Zurenko children of Maryland; the older boys are 7 and 5, while the twins are 10 months old. (Zurenko Family)
But now, Zurenko has found herself with a new full-time job that she never applied for: searching for baby formula to buy for her children.
She’s been searching for baby formula in her tri-state area of Maryland, D.C. and Virginia and in recent days has found nothing, literally nothing, she told Fox News Digital in a phone interview this week.
It wasn’t until after she ordered baby formula online — then received notice that those orders had been canceled — that she took to social media to vent her frustration.
“This has GOT to be addressed!!!!” Zurenko wrote recently, exasperated. “Raise the gas prices, inflate the food [prices], but give our babies the food they NEED!!!!”
Kayla Zurenko with her four children — she’s holding her infant twins. “This has GOT to be addressed,” she wrote with exasperation on social media about America’s baby formula shortage. (Zurenko Family)
“I shouldn’t have to search a tri-STATE area for baby formula,” she added, “and STILL not find any!”
“My online orders are being canceled, stores are out, with no end in sight,” she also wrote. “This should be TOP priority immediately for every government agency and this joke of an administration! THIS IS SCARY!”
In January 2022, Kayla Zurenko came down with COVID-19.
Up until January, Zurenko had been breastfeeding her twins.
She was not familiar with the baby formula shortages that other parents and caregivers had been facing until she couldn’t breastfeed her babies any longer.
That’s because, in January, she came down with COVID-19.
The Zurenko twins of Maryland. Their parents are searching everywhere to find enough baby formula to feed them. (Zurenko Family)
Once she tested positive for the coronavirus, her husband began hunting for baby formula to feed their infants — to no avail. But still, they did not realize the challenges up ahead.
“I sent him for a curbside order and the order got canceled,” Zurenko told Fox News Digital.
“We did a curbside order [from] a Target, and he was able to get that one. Then he brought it home and we were fine,” Zurenko said.
“And then after four days, I went back to breastfeeding when my milk supply came back up. But I realized that it just never came back to a sustainable level after we had COVID.”
Cody and Kayla Zurenko are pictured here. “I just kind of hit a breaking point [this week],” said Kayla Zurenko. “I got really upset … and I was scared.” (Zurenko family)
Now, Zurenko and her family have joined many American parents in the desperate and ongoing quest for baby formula. And it is clearly taking a toll.
During an interview on Tuesday afternoon, Kayla Zurenko broke down in tears. She told Fox News Digital that she feels she is in survival mode to feed her babies.
“Is this how it’s looking every single morning when I wake up?”
“I have enough formula for two babies for 14 days,” she said about her current supply. “Where am I going to find formula after that?” she added, her upset turning to anger.
“Is this how it’s looking every single morning when I wake up? I just kind of hit a breaking point [on Monday], and I got really upset and I was pissed off. And I was scared.”
The Zurenkos with their two oldest, shortly before their twins were born. (Zurenko Family)
Zurenko said she’s asked family members in Alabama and in Washington State — plus her stepmom in Florida — to keep checking local stores to see if they have any baby formula and, if so, to ship it to the family.
In the meantime, she and her sister-in-law, Casey, are stopping at any Target, Walmart, Walgreens and CVS — “no matter where we are” — to try to find formula.
“Formula is fundamental for all of us moms who don’t have a choice in the matter.”
Zurenko also maps out stores for her husband during his workday, just in case there might be formula available on store shelves during his drive to and from work.
Yet even if the formula is in stock at certain retailers, supplies per person are often limited.
One of the Zurenko twins. Mom Kayla Zurenko said she goes into stores, shows pictures of her infant twins to the clerks or managers, and tells them, “Look, I really have two babies.” (Zurenko Family)
Retailers such as CVS and Walgreens are placing purchase limits on baby formula.
Target also has some online product limitations in place. The Minneapolis-based retailer told FOX Business it is closely monitoring the industry-wide supply constraints and working to ensure the product is available.
“I have to show them pictures of my twins,” Zurenko said, referring to the stores she visits. “I’m like, ‘Look, I really have two babies.’”
She said she understands the store limits, “but then I feel guilty for essentially hoarding formula. At the same time, it’s terrifying,” she added — referring to the thought of not being able to feed her babies.
‘We’re going to have babies that are malnourished’
Zurenko compared today’s baby formula shortage to what happened in the U.S. amid COVID. “It’s going back to the toilet paper shortage, where everybody just started hoarding toilet paper,” she said.
“Formula is fundamental for all of us moms who don’t have a choice in the matter. And we’re going to have babies that are malnourished.”
One of the Zurenko family’s twins. “Gas is overpriced” right now, said Kayla Zurenko. “But it’s available — that is the difference.” (Zurenko Family)
Everybody’s arguing about gas prices, she said. “And everybody’s arguing about inflation — but at least food and gas are available,” she added. “Gas is way too high and it’s overpriced. But it’s available — that is the difference.”
This mom added, “I would almost rather the formula be available and the prices inflated, like everything else in the country right now.”
“You know, if we didn’t have gas,” she said, “I bet you the administration or the government or government agencies would be jumping in to fight that battle.”
“At least if you have no gas, you just sit at home. If you don’t have formula — babies are going to die or be malnourished.”
She referenced work that the Ford Motor Company has done in the production of materials to help stop the spread of COVID. (As early as April 2020, Ford said it shipped out 1 million face shields to protect health care workers struggling to find protective equipment, FOX Business reported on April 6, 2020.)
“That is the kind of outpouring of support and outreach that I believe needs to be taken into consideration with this formula shortage right now,” Zurenko said of those emergency efforts.
This spring 2022 image of an almost-zero supply of baby formula at a Target in Upper St. Clair, Penn., tells the story: American families can’t find enough baby formula for their infants right now. (Fox News Digital)
“Because it’s worse than having no gas,” she said. “At least if you have no gas, you just sit at home. If you don’t have formula — babies are going to die or be malnourished.”
The current baby formula shortage in the U.S. started with COVID-19 supply chain issues.
“I just sincerely hope this crisis can be handled with more urgency very soon!”
Several months ago the situation grew more serious once Abbott Laboratories issued a recall of its Similac product, after reports that a bacterial infection caused two infant deaths, according to earlier reporting by FOX Business.
The baby formula shortage in America has scores of parents searching high and low — and online — for enough food to feed their infants. (The Bleck Family)
In six different states — Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas and Tennessee — over half the baby formula was sold out during the week starting Sunday, April 24, said Datasembly, a Virginia-based provider of real-time product pricing and assortment data for retailers, as Fox News reported previously.
Kayla Zurenko told Fox News Digital on Tuesday afternoon about the situation, “I just sincerely hope this crisis can be handled with more urgency very soon!”