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Formula shortage hits especially hard for children with strict dietary restrictions

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO)-- A national shortage of baby formula has parents scrambling to find supplies for their children. But for one Colorado Springs father, the shortage could eventually end up with his child in the hospital.

"The more time that passes, the closer we are to having to admit her to the hospital to feed her," Jim Ruwwe says. He has an 11-year-old daughter with special needs and a special diet.

"Her diet is very specific, what she can and can't have."

The product he needs for his daughter, Elecare Jr Hypoallergenic formula is made by the company Abbott, which is at the center of a February recall that stopped production. He can't find the formula anywhere.

Ruwwe and his wife get their daughter's formula from a medical supplier. That supplier, though, serves hospitals and as well as other customers.

They've found a substitute product that works for their daughter, but now they are running out of that, too. He says they haven't been able to get any of it for the past month, and are down to about 4 weeks' worth of formula.

UCHealth told KRDO that it currently has enough formula for its hospital patients.

"If we can't locate any product that she can tolerate, the hospitals do have product, and we would have to admit her in order for them to feed her because we can't," Ruwwe said.

Ruwwe will be the first to admit his family is far from the only one being affected by the formula shortage. 

Nationwide, 40% of large retail stores are out of stock because of supply chain issues and the safety recall for Abbott.

On Wednesday, Abbott announced that it may be able to restart its plant in two weeks. But how fast production would follow, and how quickly someone like Ruwee would be able to feed his daughter remains to be seen.

He's just hoping he can help her.

"She just knows that we're taking care of her," he says.

The FDA says it is working with manufacturers to increase formula production. Abbot added from the time it restarts its plant, it will take six to eight weeks before product is available. Ruwwe hopes hospitals or suppliers can reach out and try to help people like his daughter in the meantime.

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Spencer Soicher

Spencer is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about him here.



  1. Well at least our govt priority is to approve and send 40 Billion to Ukraine and not worry about our problems here.

    1. How would not sending money to Ukraine have had any impact on this situation? This was created by the break down in the free market, a process governments at all levels are now encouraging and that most Americans are blindly joining into. We need to stop putting everything into the hands of a few central producers. This factory shut down after two babies died from bacteria in the formula, now people can’t get formula at all in some cases. That’s not how the world’s most substantial and historically important capitalist economy is supposed to work.

      1. There are Reports that the Americans Last Initiative has infant formula going to Ukraine and The Southern US Border to Illegals, pouring over.

        1. There are reports that Russian, Chinese, and North Korean government really love these divisive and unAmerican social media posts.

  2. Why is it there are wharehouses FULL of baby formula at the Mexican border? Are there that many babies coming into this country illegally that we must deprive American babies their baby food? Biden is an IDIOT.

      1. It’s the latest hot b utton story. I think it’s a few sh elves of formula in one picture.

        What we have here is a wa rning flag, our free market systems are breaking down in significant ways, and we need to change course. But the folks who run the show don’t want that. So you’ll see a bunch of stories blaming the poor / people of color / immigrants and then a bunch of stories blaming the rich / white people / Karens / Texans / the Florida governor / Christians and we’ll be so busy attacking each other the elite will be safe from refo rm. Happens about three times a week now.

        1. HAHA ! “hot b utton story” is what got you.
          I forgot about that “B” word.

          1. Isn’t that hilarious! I have to admit it is a disturbing phenom to read everything I write here looking for bizarre potential cuss words. It’s like a dysfunctional word game!

      2. You can ‘google’ it: NY Post, Washington Times, Newsweek, were the 1st 3 I saw.

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