Ways to support infant caregivers during the baby formula shortage

Being a parent is a thrilling, yet often thankless adventure that hundreds of thousands will embark upon within the next few months; however, a shroud of uncertainty surrounds new parents as they wonder if the baby formula shortage will leave their new infants hungry. 

The nationwide formula shortage has caused devastating, nearly irreversible impacts on our most defenseless. 

As the shortage exceeds its second year of control over Americans, there are several things you can do to support and aid friends and family with infants.

According to a recent article published by The Guardian, the formula shortage was primarily caused by COVID-19 panic buying as well as a recall of Abbott baby formula due to bacteria concerns. 

Abbott, a company known for formulas such as Similac, Pedialyte and Ensure, produces nearly 25% of baby formula made in the United States, according to The Washington Post. These circumstances have left stores and shops across the nation with bare formula shelves. One way individuals can give back, especially if they had to buy formula within the last few years, is by giving formula away to those that need it. 

To do this, it is critical that you check the expiration date and do not share formula that has been opened. Exercise caution when handing out Abbott baby formula and contact the Abbott corporation to see if your formula is safe.

That being said, it is important that parents are careful when buying from secondary sources. With the vulnerability and urgency of the shortage, many parents buy formula in a rush without realizing they could be getting scammed

Many Facebook groups, including Formula Finders! 🍼 Wichita, can provide assistance in finding secure and safe ways to access baby formula.

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to support a parent during the formula shortage is to encourage and uplift parents and caregivers, especially parents that rely on formula over breastfeeding. 

Breastfeeding is different for every parent: some may overproduce and be able to freeze their milk for later use, while others struggle to make even a teaspoon of milk in a day. Various factors, including stress, contribute to a person’s breastfeeding abilities. Cooking a meal, offering to babysit or assisting with cleaning can reassure and support parents. 

The nationwide formula shortage is not just an inconvenience for parents, it is a life-altering situation that leaves many with babies in fear and uncertainty. While Abbott promises to have renewed baby formula supplies within the next few weeks, it is still important that those of us without infants do what we can to assist caregivers.

The small things go a long way; your kind actions might make a world of difference to parents who are struggling to feed their little ones.