I want to preface this article by saying that I am a Mother who has formula fed, breastfed, and exclusively pumped. I have donated 25,538 oz of breast milk to babies with heart transplants, SMA type 1, who have lost their Mother to cancer, and babies who just needed milk because their Mother's struggled with supply issues. I have experienced all the strategies for nourishing a baby. I have experienced the inability to feed my first child because society told me I needed to "just formula feed" instead of offering breastfeeding support and knowledge. Society convinced me that I shouldn't have to make an effort to breastfeed, convinced me that if I was meant to breastfeed it would happen smoothly with no effort from my baby and I. A majority of the time breastfeeding isn't effortless.
It's May 2022 and there is a formula shortage. It is being reported by parents' everywhere in the U.S. I have many personal friends who are concerned because they have been driving for over an hour in many directions, to many different towns, only to leave the stores empty handed. I am absolutely heart broken for all the parents' who cannot find the formula they need to keep their babies healthy. I can't imagine searching all over, only leaving each time to feel defeated and concerned with how my baby is going to get their next meal.
Now we have hit a wall. That wall is "fed is best". We all agree that alive, thriving, and fed babies are better than starved/unalive babies. There is no doubt about that. In the midst of a shortage of infant formulas it is irresponsible to advise Mother's use formula from birth. It's irresponsible to advise a mother beget nursing altogether just because formula is an "option". Yes, formula is an option, but right now it is a scarce option. Formula isn't a readily available option like it used to be. There is no way to predict when companies are going to be able to "catch up" on producing the amount of formula needed to feed all the babies who currently depend on it to stay nourished.
Every Mother has the right to choose formula or breastmilk for her child. However, as a society we are responsible for making sure we are supporting new Mother's and handing out advice that won't potentially harm their babies. Recommending formula because "fed is best" at this time is dangerous. Homemade formula's like kayro syrup and condensed milk are dangerous. Feeding infants straight cows milk is not sufficient nutrition wise, it is dangerous. Mother's may become so desperate for formula that they resort to inadequate homemade recipes. If you want to advocate for the health of babies being born in present time, you should be advocating they be breast fed. Mother's have more control over their milk supply (in a majority of situations) than they do over formula companies producing enough product to meet the needs of their babies during a shortage.
Society needs to offer more support and accurate information to new Mother's about breastfeeding. Hospitals should not be pushing formula onto new Mother's because this only furthers less milk production, and less confidence in breastfeeding. How can someone encourage a "fed is best" mentality to new Mother's when milk supplements for infants are under serious threat of non availability? It's unethical to recommend formula just because "fed is best" when a baby has a possibility of starving due to unattainable milk substitutes. To end this post, I offer some information for parents who need formula, but can't find any. Kabrita (https://kabritausa.com/pages/frequently-asked-questions#reamaze#0#/kb/infant-formula/can-i-use-with-an-infant-my-child-is-weeks-slash-months-old-can-i-use) is a toddler formula sold in the U.S. It meets all the requirements based off the FDA's information. In the U.S. it can only be recommended for 12-24 month old's because the FDA has not ran their own tests on the product. The FDA will not accept Europe's data regarding its sufficiency as an infant milk substitute. However, based off Kabrita's website they state it is adequate to feed to infants and that they offer it as an infant formula in their country. Goats milk is the closest milk to humans if you cannot find Kabrita either. I am not a medical professional, so take this information at your own "risk".
There is always donor breastmilk. Donated by women who put so much love and care into pumping extra milk for babies in need. Please reach out to Eats on feets (by state) or Human milk for human babies. Both sites are located on Facebook and are a great resource to find donor milk and breastfeeding information.
I truly hope that anyone struggling with finding a source of nutrition for their babies finds whatever they may need. No one deserves the stress and uncertainty of possible starvation for their baby. Sending love and light to my readers.