Hundreds of offers roll in for mum short on baby formula

Bywong mother Lizzie Cann with sons Harley, 8 months, and Dusti, 4.
Bywong mother Lizzie Cann with sons Harley, 8 months, and Dusti, 4. Photo: Jay cronan

The Bywong mum who was down to her last three tins of baby formula said she had received hundreds of calls and offers to send her the formula her eight-month-old boy needed.

She had emails from Canada and New Zealand, and a man she had never met turned up on her doorstep after buying a tin at Woolworths when it opened early one morning.

Lizzie Cann now has about 10 tins and two months worth of formula, but said she can't accept any more because there were other parents in need.

"The response we've had has been overwhelming," she said. "We have turned down a lot of people, because I'm not going to take more than my fair share."

Mrs Cann has set up a Facebook group, "Formula Finder Canberra and surrounds", to link up people with supplies of formula to parents who were looking for it.

"I can't tell you how many parents have contacted me saying, do you know how I can get it? There's so many," she said. "I'm still getting 30 emails a day."

The national formula shortage hit home last week, when Mrs Cann reached out for help finding a particular brand for eight-month-old Harley.

Harley was born two months premature with duodenal atresia, a condition where his small bowel did not develop properly, preventing the passage of his stomach contents.

Because of his complex stomach, immune and feeding issues, he has been fed on Karicare Aptamil De-Lact almost exclusively since birth.


Mrs Cann said the spike in sugars Harley experiences when changing brands of formula can send him into an adrenal crisis and could even kill him.

But now the brand is in short supply, due to profiteers bulk-buying formula from supermarkets and pharmacies and selling it to families in China for up to five times the price.

Mrs Cann told Fairfax Media she had been driving more than three hours to Sydney to try and secure a steady supply of the formula.

She has a back order with three different chemists and combed social media forums searching for elusive tins.

"The last time I bought it online was about $35 but I've seen it online for $150. You don't have a choice, your baby is going to dehydrate without it," she said.

"It's not something that mothers should have to go onto Facebook to search for food for their babies. It's disgusting. It's not fair and it's endangering lives."

She was still worried about the shortage, and after speaking with the company behind the formula she needed, felt that the problem was not going to be resolved quickly.

- The Canberra Times