The shortage of baby formula in the United States is causing a panic among parents desperate to feed their babies. Misinformation and pure ignorance about why that’s a problem (and why it’s not that simple to just breastfeed instead) have run rampant on social media, as has a complete lack of empathy for what these families are going through.

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Kayzie Weedman, a TikToker and mother, uploaded a video this week attempting to explain the situation to help people realize what a big deal this actually is.

“You go to your local Target, your local Walmart, you think you’re going to get this formula your baby needs? Nope, shelves are bare. And there are babies that can’t have just any formula on the shelf,” she said.

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Weedman shared that her daughter has a number of allergies, including to cow’s milk. When she drinks it, a red rash breaks out all over her face and scalp.

“So what am I going to do when I go to the shelves and I can’t get my formula I need?” she asked. “The pharmacist who fills her prescription formula can’t fill it because they can’t get it; it’s backordered six months. And I just have to sit there and stare at empty shelves and not know what I’m going to do next.”

After searching locations within three hours of her, Weedman says she was still unable to find a place that had the formula her child needs in stock.

And this is not a problem specific to this formula or her location. Parents across the country are scrambling to keep enough supplies on hand to feed their babies, and even Congress is looking into the ongoing, worsening issue, which has been caused in part by recalls and supply chain issues. 

Commenters were sympathetic with Weedman’s plight, and many were frustrated about the situation themselves.

“The government can’t do anything about the formula shortage but got all the time in the world for the unborn,” @badamikukfi wrote.

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“I’m 3 months pregnant right now and trying so hard to not have anxiety over this,” added @cbphotoanddesign.

Several brought up the possibility of breastfeeding, but there are a number of reasons why that isn’t always an option, including health issues for the mother, lack of time or comfort, or, in Weedman’s case, the baby’s allergies. Some babies are also adopted or living with relatives and breastfeeding was never in the cards. 

Fortunately, many have responded to Weedman’s specific story offering to help out and send formula from around the world, but there are still too many families struggling with this shortage and uncertain when it might be resolved — or what to do in the meantime.

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*First Published: May 13, 2022, 7:01 am