Pandemic Drop In Breastfeeding Exacerbates Stress On Formula Supply
The Wall Street Journal reports on a pandemic-fueled decline in the number of babies being breastfed in the U.S., which has contributed to the national infant formula shortage. And NPR writes about how a lack of maternal support and aggressive marketing by formula makers has contributed to that trend.
The Wall Street Journal:
Baby-Formula Shortage Worsened By Drop In Breast-Feeding Rates
One of the contributing factors in the U.S. baby-formula shortage is a significant shift in the way parents feed their babies: Breast-feeding declined during the pandemic, reversing a decadeslong trend, health practitioners say. Since 2020, the share of breast-fed one-year-olds has plummeted from an estimated 34% to an estimated 14% this year, according to surveys conducted by Demographic Intelligence, a forecasting firm that specializes in births and works with formula manufacturers including Abbott Laboratories and Nestlé SA. Because of the small sample size, the firm’s 2022 estimate has a range of error of plus or minus 6 percentage points. (Maloney, 5/29)
The Baby Formula Shortage Is Prompting Calls To Increase Support For Breastfeeding
Parents are scrambling to find baby formula. Factories are working around the clock to make more. And military cargo planes are airlifting formula from overseas. Often overlooked, though, in the race to fill the gap left when a big formula factory closed due to suspected contamination is the most natural alternative: mother's milk. "If we did more to support breastfeeding, we wouldn't be in this mess," says Dr. Melissa Bartick, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that most babies be fed exclusively with breast milk for the first six months. But in 2018, only about one in four babies born in the U.S. met that target. (Horsley, 5/30)
Homemade formulas are dangerous, experts say —
TikTok Doctors Say DIY Formula Recipes Are 'Dangerous'
Viral social media posts offering supposed alternative recipes for baby formula have spread during the ongoing shortage of the product in the US, but medical experts with online followings are speaking out against the trend, calling the DIY substitutes dangerous. Amateur baby formula recipes have spread across numerous platforms including on Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube, Bloomberg reported. While social media platforms have removed some videos that violate their rules prohibiting medical misinformation, the platforms haven't removed such videos consistently, the report said. (Perrett, 5/28)
Breast Milk Bought Online Amid Baby Formula Shortage Could Harm Infant Health, Pediatric Dietitian Warns
A pediatric dietitian cautioned parents against purchasing breast milk from independent sellers online amid the nationwide baby formula shortages and instead recommended going through a milk bank. "This can be very, very risky if it's not found from a reliable source," Katie Boss, a pediatric dietitian at the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Michigan, told Fox News. Abbott Nutrition recalled its baby formula products and closed a plant following a Food and Drug Administration investigation, leading to a nationwide shortage. Abbott and the federal government have taken steps to alleviate the problem, but it could take up to two months before shelves are stocked again, FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said Thursday. (Sahakian, 5/27)
More formula will soon hit the shelves —
Goat's Milk And Other Baby Formula Product Arrives In U.S.
The U.S. will distribute another 1.25 million cans of baby formula in effort to replenish the country's dire supply in the coming weeks, the Food and Drug Administration says. That stock will bring the total imported supply of baby formula product to the equivalent of 30 million 8-ounce bottles, since the Biden administration began its effort to alleviate the national shortage. During the first week of May, the average out-of-stock rate for baby formula at retailers nationwide was 43%, according to data from Datasembly. (Bowman, 5/28)
The Wall Street Journal:
Danone To Fly Formula To The U.S. For Babies With Allergies
Danone SA is to send the equivalent of about five million bottles of specialist infant formula to the U.S. as part of a broader push to alleviate shortages faced by babies with allergies. The French food giant said about half a million cans of specialized medical formula made by its Nutricia business will be flown into the U.S. in the coming weeks. Danone said the formula will come from its factory in Liverpool, England, which makes the Neocate line of amino acid-based products used for babies allergic to cow’s milk and other proteins. (Chaudhuri, 5/30)
Los Angeles Times:
L.A. County Buys Baby Formula To Distribute During Shortage
Los Angeles County has purchased $750,000 worth of baby formula that it will soon start handing out at food distribution sites and through outreach programs for new mothers, officials said. The county purchased the formula to help feed babies as the nation grapples with a severe infant formula shortage, Supervisor Hilda L. Solis said in a news release. For weeks now, parents have been scrambling to find formula following supply chain disruptions and a safety recall at the nation’s largest formula producer. (Esquivel, 5/28)
New Hampshire Public Radio:
From Encouraging Breastfeeding To Expanding Product Options, How N.H. WIC Workers Are Responding To The Formula Shortage
Amid the ongoing nationwide shortage of infant formula, New Hampshire workers with the Division of Public Health Services are making phone calls and trips to local formula vendors to figure out where families can go to find the product. “We never thought that it would come to this,” said Lissa Sirois who oversees New Hampshire WIC, or Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. Nationally, WIC participants under 12 months of age consume over half of all infant formula in the U.S., according to an estimate from the USDA. (Fam, 5/29)