Viral Facebook post helps mum find formula for tube-fed son

Claire Rowan didn’t know what to do when the FDA recalled an essential formula to feed her 16-year-old son who is tube-feeding.

VIENNA, Va. — A Virginia mother whose son depends on recalled baby formula to eat through a feeding tube said the support she found through social media has restored her faith in humanity.

On Thursday, the FDA announced a major recall of three infant formulas manufactured at Abbott Nutrition in Sturgis, Michigan – Similac, Alimentum and EleCare. DC Health released a statement on Saturday warning parents not to use the recalled formulas due to possible bacterial contamination.

That recall has left parents across the country, including in the DMV area, scrambling to find a replacement. One such mother is Claire Rowan from Virginia.

Rowan found herself unsure of how to feed her 16-year-old whose condition means using this formula is essential. Her son typically eats EleCare Jr, a hypoallergenic formula that provides nutrition for children with protein allergies.

“He has both Crohn’s disease and something called eosinophilia, esophagitis, and gastroenteritis, so he has food allergies to almost everything,” Rowan said of his son Will in an interview with WUSA9. “He doesn’t eat anything by mouth, except he can try a food every eight weeks, to see if his body can tolerate it.”

To complicate matters, a few days ago the Rowan family received their normal delivery of 60 cans of EleCare Jr formula – all of which are unusable due to the recall.

Desperate for help, Rowan took to social media, wondering what options she had since the Abbot formula is usually the only thing her son Will is able to handle.

“Long shot but I’m desperate,” she wrote on Facebook. “Right now, [my tube fed son] has no food. Any. … We’ll drive anywhere… I’m working to try to get new cases, but everyone in America does too. Our choices are no food or probable anaphylaxis, so we submit it to our community for any help we can get. »

Rowan’s post was shared hundreds of times on Facebook and eventually made its way to Reddit.

With the help of a friend, Rowan found community members in Stafford and Riding who had a usable and safe formula for his son Will.

“We ended up with four and a half cans yesterday, which is going to take us a few days until the doctor tells us what our plan B is,” Rowan said.

Now Rowan said she is not only getting help for her son, but for other children as well. All this in the hope of ensuring that no child goes hungry. She was able to get in touch with a mother in Alexandria and provide her with six boxes of baby formula safely.

A simple message brought moms together and proves that in times of need, the community just wants to see kids get what they need.

“I can’t say thank you enough to all these different people because it’s been pretty amazing,” Rowan said.

RELATED: FDA: Don’t use recalled infant formula linked to infections

CD Health published a list of alternative formulas to the formulas recalled on its website. Unused cans of the recalled formula can be returned to the store where they were purchased, otherwise people can contact Sililac in line or by calling 1-800-986-8540.

RELATED: Infant Formula Recalled for Possible Health Risks

The FDA advises people to discard the following formulas – Similac Advance, Similac Sensitive, Similac Total Comfort, Similac for Spit Up, Alimentum, EleCare Infant, and EleCare Jr. powder formula – if:

  • 22 to 37 are the first two digits of the code;
  • K8, SH or Z2 is in the code; or if
  • 4-1-2022 (APR 2022) or later is the expiration date.

According to health officials, formulas that do not contain the above three problems are safe to use.

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