Recently, finding baby formulas at stores becomes increasingly difficult as a shortage continues. According to BuzzFeed, Datasembly blames “inflation, supply chain shortages, and product recalls for the infant formula shortage, which it expects to worsen with time.” The FDA also blames the pandemic for the shortage, which makes sense as it has caused shortages for many things in the past years when it began. But, the shortage of baby formula becomes one of the most worrying things for many young parents who do not have the option to breastfeed. So, when some concerned parents turned to social media for advice, some shamed them for using the formula in the first place.
The lack of baby formula is a nightmare for many American mothers and fathers.
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) May 11, 2022
Mothers are rationing food for babies as they search for more formula. Some are driving for hours, only to find empty shelves
Private sellers are gouging prices online, marketing cans for double or triple the price. Many retailers are sold out altogetherhttps://t.co/RhKvLblIWQ
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) May 11, 2022
As people searched for advice online, some were helpful. Interestingly, there was a lot of advice on TikTok on what to do if you cannot find the baby formula to feed your baby and are unable to breastfeed. There are some practitioners that can help you lactate if you have issues. Some parents have even offered to ship struggling mothers who cannot breastfeed. Although some claim that homemade formula has worked fine for them, medical professionals advise against this as it could lack nutrients a growing baby would need.
As helpful as social media can be, it can also be harmful and full of shame. Some people did not understand why people would use a formula in the first place instead of breastfeeding. “PSA: Breastfeeding is superior to formula. The formula shortage shouldn’t be a problem for women” wrote one person on Twitter. Although she clarified that she was talking about those who can lactate but choose not to, breastfeeding is something that women are still shamed for doing in public. Others simply do not want to do it and should not be shamed for personal choices for their babies.
I’m talking about women who can produce but feed their children formula instead. Formula should be a last resort, not the first choice.
— Jessica (@jessicahodlr) May 10, 2022
absolutely zero tolerance or patience for "breastfeeding is free" arguments sparked by the baby formula shortage.
breastfeeding is only free if a mother's physical comfort, career, mental health, and often the physical health of both mother and baby, have no value.
— Kathryn VanArendonk (@kvanaren) May 10, 2022
Overall, although some believed that such an unnerving issue of mothers being unable to feed their children should not be controversial, many on both sides of the political spectrum disagree with where to go from here. Many Democrats pointed out that it is unfair to discuss overturning Roe V. Wade in a time where babies are struggling to find food, while Republicans believe that the $40 million being sent to Ukraine should be used for the shortage.