Ross: Baby formula shortage puts new mothers in difficult spot

May 13, 2022, 9:49 AM | Updated: May 17, 2022, 6:49 am
Katie Wussler, a program coordinator at Mother & Child Education Center, checks the lot number on a...
Katie Wussler, a program coordinator at Mother & Child Education Center, checks the lot number on a donated can of Similac baby formula against a list of recalled cans on May 12, 2022 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

I’m having trouble accepting that the United States is dealing with a shortage of baby formula – especially when the main advice being given to panicked moms is do NOT try to make your own.

The headlines are pretty straightforward: “Homemade baby formula can be dangerous.” “Never make homemade baby formula.”

We get it.

But then what’s a mom supposed to do?

Start looking online, I suppose. So, I did. And it reminded me of trying to schedule a COVID vaccine back in the old days.

I went to the Similac website and used the store-finder – which said it was IN STOCK at the Walgreens in Burien, Lynnwood, Covington, and Edgewood, and the Targets in Renton, Federal Way, and Tukwila.

That’s encouraging – but for a mom to have to go on a safari just to feed her child doesn’t seem like it should be a thing in 2022.

So something is screwed up here.

One problem is that most of the recalled formula came from ONE FACTORY in Sturgis, Michigan that was shut down because of a bacterial infection.

But that was back in February – we’re halfway into May, and it is still not fixed!

And when it comes to specialized formulas – which for some babies are more like life-or-death medications – the industry has to be better prepared than that. If the supply chain crisis has taught us anything, it’s that relying on a single source for a crucial product is a bad idea.

Yes, there is also some evidence that this is another example of hoarding – that it started during the pandemic, and when people posted pictures of empty formula shelves, it got worse – but to blame hoarding is a waste of time. Parents are going to feed their families, period. If they think they need to hoard food, they will, and I don’t blame them.

The key is to keep shelves stocked.

The good news is that here in Washington, there are 64 substitutes for the recalled Similac formulas… and for mothers who qualify for government help, they’re all paid for. I put up a link on the Dave Ross commentary page.

Bottom line – there should always be plenty of baby formula – especially now, with so many politicians expressing their love for babies.

And if our system can’t guarantee that, then at least teach parents how to SAFELY make their own.
Raising kids is tough enough without another unnecessary crisis.

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
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Ross: Baby formula shortage puts new mothers in difficult spot