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Financial strain for new parents as baby formula prices soar

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The simple act of approaching the baby formula aisle has become a source of anxiety and apprehension for parents.

As prices continue to climb, mothers like Emily Pashkoski find themselves grappling with the reality of purchasing baby formula, an unavoidable necessity for their infants.

“It’s shopping around basically for the best deal. My mom helps me find coupons and my mother-in-law has also signed up for coupons to help us find these deals,” said Pashkoski.

According to Statistics Canada, the price of baby formula has increased more than 20 per cent between 2022-2023.

Pashkoski’s three month daughter goes through the product every two weeks. In the last five months Pashkoski says she has noticed the price increase even more.

“Being on mat-leave there’s a strain of course on our budget, so we really just have to look at what our income is and what we could afford,” she said.

A bottle containing baby formula. (Hafsa Arif/CTV Atlantic)

Some pharmacies even lock baby formula behind a glass case.

Nova Scotia Health's Early Years consultant Haileigh Robb said data from a few years ago shows there are lots of families likely feeding their newborns baby formula.

“There are many reasons people may not be breastfeeding. We know those rates start to drop off pretty early once they go home and into postpartum period. It’s around that two month mark when we really start to see rates drop,” said Robb.

Pashkoski said she is unable to breastfeed, so she does not have any other option but to purchase baby formula.

Aside from breastfeeding and baby formula, parents have no other options. Robb said cow’s milk can pose challenges to an infant’s health.

“The first 1,000 days of life is one of the best opportunities we have for nutrition and growth. Infant formula in those first six months of life is the only other option that we have that is safe to breastmilk.”

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