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Data on Formula Shortage
So… Why Aren’t Moms Breast-Feeding?
We hear the heavily quoted “BREAST IS BEST”, but not all mothers produce the same.
I, myself included. As a pregnant first-time mom, I expected to breastfeed because I wanted the best option for my baby.
However, I didn’t produce enough milk to sustain his life.
I was determined, so like most, I went on Google and YouTube, for hours trying many techniques: Increasing liquids, pump training, lactation tea, and speaking with a lactation specialist. Some techniques worked; however, it still wasn’t enough.
Therefore, I produced what I could, then I supplemented breast milk with baby formula (for both of my children).
Although many desire to breastfeed, it just simply may not be possible.
As a first-time mom, you’re not always prepared for the amount of work that goes into breastfeeding. It takes lots of practice, patience, and scheduling.
The inability to produce isn’t the only reason moms aren’t breastfeeding.
Reasons Why Some Babies are Formula Fed
- Supply can decrease over time
- Parents didn’t birth the baby (i.e., surrogacy, adoption, foster care, etc.)
- Parent’s Choice (not conducive to their lifestyle)
- Frustration (never can get the hang of it)
- Postpartum depression, etc.
Seemingly, why many found the comments from Bette Midler, a Hollywood actress, highly insensitive when suggesting moms “try breast-feeding it’s free and available on demand“.
What Caused This Formula Shortage?
In short, the 3 main contributing factors related to the formula shortage are:
- Broken Supply Chain
- Formula recall
On Feb. 17, Abbott announced that the company initiated a voluntary recall of potentially affected products, including Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare powdered formulas manufactured in its Sturgis, Michigan facility.
Operation Fly Formula
In efforts to address the concerns of many parents across the United States, mid-week, President Joe Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to increase formula production and deploy Defense Department planes for speedy shipments into the United States.
Also, the House approved bipartisan legislation, granting the federal government emergency authority to expand the types of formula that can be purchased with benefits from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC. For now, families can use their WIC benefits to purchase any formula available to them.
It’s President Biden’s hopes for formula to be back on the shelves in “weeks or less”.
5 Tips to Help Formula Feeders Through the Shortage
- Don’t over/under feed your baby. Use formula feeding charts as a guide not a must follow.
- Prepare the perfect bottle amount. Feed your baby what he/she generally eats. If they’re still hunger, prepare additional bottles in 1-2 ounce increments, per feeding.
- Contact your local hospital, church, food pantry, etc. for local/regional resources.
- If your baby’s on a special formula, take a picture, send to family/friends and post on FB for others to notify you if seen in your area.
- Use HHS resource sheet, for additional help and information.
A Formula Feeding Chart
Want to know how much the formula chart recommends you feed?
Here’s a general chart derived, from a collection of formula brands on retailer’s shelves.
It’s a good reference tool, to ensure your baby’s receiving the recommended formula. However, every baby’s different and there are other things to factor: your feeding practices, baby’s weight, baby’s response to formula, etc.
In general, during your baby’s first year of check-ups with the pediatrician, the doctor will access weight/growth, concerns, feedings, etc. At this time, the doctor will tell you how to determine when to increase and/or decrease you baby’s formula intake.
Use your check-up appointments to discuss issues or concerns you may have regarding your baby’s feedings. If your appointment is scheduled to far out, call your pediatrician during regular working hours. As they’re able to review your baby’s chart and give you more specific and relevant information.
If for some reason, you’re not comfortable asking questions, consider finding a new doctor who’s more comforting and attentive in addressing your concerns. You are the best advocate for your baby and you have to be comfortable with your pediatrician, as it sets a level of trust needed for the duration of his/her life.
If you find, use, or may consider using the information in the future, please, print it and review it with your pediatrician, to ensure you have the best information needed to make an informative decision, as many things found on the internet can be suggestive.
Formula Feeding and Fussy/Gassy Baby
There are several formulas marketed for gassy babies which may help with irritation, discomfort, etc. Many products are similar with subtle changes.
So, don’t get caught in the hype.
When selecting your desired brand and formula type, keep in mind, that’s only one aspect of helping with the discomfort of being a formula fed baby. The additional factors, I found, came when preparing the powder formula.
Many parents will opt to purchase powder formula, as it’s much cheaper than readymade formula.
However, no matter the brand, if you’re using powder formula, your milk will become heavily manipulated, creating extra air bubbles that babies then digest.
Immediately after starting formula, I was able to associate the discomfort my baby was experiencing from the use of it. Therefore, I attempted to find remedies to eliminate the foam and bubbles created when mixing the formula.
Watch the video, to see how I removed the excessive foam sitting on top of my baby’s formula. This method is easy and you probably already have the needed items in your home.
Also, this method can make almost twice the amount of the Dr. Brown’s baby’s pitcher, which is very helpful when your baby is feeding more throughout the day.
Formula Feeding and Constipation
Have you noticed a difference in your baby’s bowel movements once you began formula? If so, it could be due to the high amounts of iron.
This became a problem for us too, the more formula my baby took in.
Initially, I noticed the decrease in poopy diapers, then, eventually he became constipated. It was defiantly a concern I spoke about with the pedestrian. However, I didn’t like her answer, nor the information I found when researching, stating, “babies may not poop everyday”.
I found it to be disturbing. By no means was I eager to clean dirty diapers all day, but at a certain point, I was looking for dirty diapers, because I wanted him to pass a bowel movement, even if it was just once a day!
I continued my research and stumbled on a newfound miracle, probiotics! We began using daily at 2 months. Immediately after he passed his first bowel, he was less fussy and irritated!
If you’re experiencing any of the same problems, begin researching to determine what’s best. We used Culturelle’s, which you can use as early as 0 months.
Formula Feeders: How to Relieve Gas and Fussiness
- Powder Formula (any brand)
- Fine Mesh Hand Strainer
- 2 Sterilized Containers (to store and transfer milk)
- Baby Water
- Baby Bottle
- Gas drops (optional)
- Infant Probiotics (optional)
Recommendation: If you mix probiotics into the formula (bottle), give to baby in 1 feeding, start with 1/2 the size of a normal feeding bottle. As you want to ensure baby intakes as much probiotics as possible, then give another bottle with the remaining formula. This is a good practice especially for newborns, as they fall asleep during feedings; and if you’ve just increased your baby’s bottle ounces and they’re not sucking the bottle empty.
To see how I prepared the formula to reduce gas and fussiness, watch this video!
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