GILBERT, Ariz. — New data shows the Phoenix metro area and the state of Arizona are among the hardest hit in the country when it comes to the ongoing baby formula shortage.
Analytics company Datasembly assessed formula availability week by week at over 130,000 stores across the country and found that in the week of May 15 - 21, Arizona had the second-highest out-of-stock rate in the country at 86.59%.
Compared to other metros, Phoenix ranked fifth highest at 86.59%.
“It makes me really sad and emotional for people because it's just like, it shouldn't even be something that we have to worry about," said first-time mom Cherish Christensen of Gilbert.
Christensen is the proud mom of 9-month-old baby girl, Presley Ray.
"She just learned how to clap in the last week. And that's been the sweetest," Christensen said. "She's an angel."
Christensen anticipated the challenges of parenthood but she never expected feeding her baby to be one of them.
Christensen tried breastfeeding Presley for about three months and switched to formula due to health issues. She now finds herself in the middle of the nationwide baby formula shortage.
A massive recall and numerous supply chain issues started the problem but stores across the country still have empty shelves.
“The stress of being able to find can by can...it's too much," she said.
According to Datasembly, the stock rates have worsened. After the first week of January, the out-of-stock rate was at 17.95% in Arizona.
By mid-April, the rate had nearly doubled to 33.82%.
The second week of May saw 52.12% and it skyrocketed to 86.59% only a week later.
Arizona's Department of Health Services says the state continues to look for solutions and is working to support families through the Women, Infants, and Childrens (WIC) program.
You can contact the AZ WIC Shopper Helpline at 866.927.8390 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. You also can email email@example.com. Staff are available to help connect you with alternative infant formulas.
“We might just have to switch altogether," Christensen explained. "And I'm hoping that it won't make her sick because switching formulas can.”
Christensen is on her final can of formula for Presley and must turn to Facebook groups and her community for help. She's thankful her daughter only has about three months of formula use left but she's concerned for parents with younger babies and longer roads ahead.
“To all the moms out there that are experiencing this, you're not alone," Christensen said. "I personally have been able to get help from people and if you are needing it, reach out to your community because there are people out there.”
On Friday, Governor Ducey joined several other governors in signing a letter to the Biden administration calling on them to allow for more imports of safe formula from other countries.
Governor Ducey's Director of Communications C.J. Karamargin released the following statement to 12 News:
"Parents in Phoenix and in Arizona should be outraged. The baby formula shortage could have been anticipated by the Biden administration and they should have responded quickly and decisively. Gov. Ducey believes parents need the assurance that they can provide the basic necessities for their family, and nothing is more critical than infant formula."