Retailers in the United States have begun implementing purchasing limits on baby formula as a nationwide shortage has left parents desperately searching far and wide to find vital supplies.
Pressure builds for the Biden administration as the public’s anger increases. The Biden administration has been blaming the shortages on pandemic-related supply chain delays and labour shortages which were compounded by the temporary closure of the country’s largest infant formula plant in February.
According to Datasembly, a data collection agency, out-of-stock rates for major brands are now at 43 percent across the nation. In six US states, that figure is 50 percent higher.
56 percent of supplies were out of stock as of Tuesday in San Antonio, Texas. It’s the highest shortage in the country.
A Paediatrician in New York, Dr Dyan Hes recently spoke with Fox and “Friends Weekend” to discuss the shortage, and to suggest methods parents might use to get through the shortage.
“I’ve been calling families who need formula and having them come pick it up at our office,” Dr Hes said when talking about the telemedicine calls that her office participates in.
She suggested that parents should visit small mom-and-pop shops or bodegas in their areas to find supplies. She also suggested using an app called Instacart to find baby formula.
Speaking to paediatrician offices about formula could be helpful for some, while simply just being flexible with the brand could help others.
Her suggestion also was to consult with doctors first, but for the majority of babies older than six months, toddler formula can be used as a substitute temporarily until more baby formula becomes available. If a baby is over the age of nine months, whole milk with an appropriate vitamin supplement that contains iron would be fine to switch to, but again the parents should always consult their family doctor first.
She advised against making up homemade formulas and also against diluting formula. Diluting formula can lead to seizures according to Dr Hes. Another person who has advised against DIY formula is Jessica D’Argenio Waller, the senior editor at Motherly Health + Wellness. She said that it can “bring on risks of improper nutrient imbalance or contamination.”
A recent article in the LA Times also discussed Transitioning bottle-fed babies back to breast milk is also possible for some people. While it can be a difficult task, it at least ensures the mother knows where her child’s next meal is coming from.
One of the biggest manufacturers of baby food, Abbott Laboratories (ABT) says it will take approximately six to eight weeks for more baby formula to reach the stores after two recent infant deaths forced the company to recall its product.
According to a Yahoo! Finance article, the White House has directed the FDA to import more baby formula to address the shortage and politicians have called on the Biden administration to invoke the Defense Production Act to ensure more formula is manufactured.
Some experts have even gone so far as to suggest parents can purchase breast milk from other lactating mothers, especially adoptive mothers who haven’t actually given birth and do not have their own breast milk.
According to the CDC, one in four parents exclusively breastfeed for up to six months and it is not recommended to give babies cows milk until they are at least a year old.
Price gouging is also a challenge some parents are facing – according to CBS News, one parent found a normal 27-ounce can of baby formula, usually priced around $40 that was selling for $129!
The White House warned against price gouging and called on FTC and the state’s attorney general to crack down on the people doing it.