Health Viewpoints

The Baby Formula Shortage Is Serious

BY Laura Rosen Cohen TIMEMay 12, 2022 PRINT

Commentary

Before I had kids, I thought that breastfeeding was the most natural thing in the world and that it was something that mothers just instantly knew how to do perfectly once the baby was born. I would sit with my calm, little cherubic pink baby at breast, marveling at myself, at the very thought of feeding my precious little one from my own wonderful breastmilk. What a wonderful natural and serene breastfeeding goddess I would be-of that I was sure.

That was one of the first of many, many things I was completely wrong about when I became a parent. Thinking I would be able to learn how to play the guitar and learn Spanish on my first maternity leave were some of the other things I cannot believe I thought I could do while taking care of a baby.

It somehow completely did not compute that “taking care of the newborn” was pretty much the only thing I would be doing, or could be possibly doing 24/7. I had no concept of how a precious, tiny little newborn could wipe out two newby parents so easily and for so many weeks and no clue how hard, physically and emotionally draining breastfeeding could be.

Yes it was convenient and “free,” but nobody told me about engorgement, cracked nipples, and how exhausting a newborn’s two-hour feeding cycle would be. I breastfed for a number of months and am proud of doing so, but then I started supplementing with formula. Many women cannot breastfeed for myriad reasons, and shaming them is particularly repugnant.

My kids are older now but I have been thrown back into thinking about feeding hungry infants and toddlers because of the acute baby formula shortage that is hitting North America right now, and nobody in any position of leadership in America or Canada is actually talking about this horrifying situation.

The only people I see talking about it are mothers frantically searching pharmacies and online delivery services hours from their homes, placing online order after order only to be told that their orders cannot be filled. This is 2022, why are American babies and toddlers at risk of starving? Where are our leaders?

What is going on?

The Wall Street Journal explains:

There are two reasons for the shortage. Supply chain issues caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have made baby formula harder to find for months. The shortage worsened after Abbott Laboratories, a major formula manufacturer, voluntarily recalled some products and closed a plant where the products were made in Sturgis, Mich.

The Food and Drug Administration is investigating consumer complaints related to four infants who were hospitalized, two of whom died. A fifth complaint was also filed, but the FDA said there wasn’t enough information available to definitively link the illness to the recalled formula.

The agency said cronobacter sakazakii, a germ that can be deadly in infants, was detected in the Sturgis plant, but not in the products. The FDA said in a statement that findings during its inspection raised concerns that powdered formula made at the Sturgis plant carried a risk of contamination.

So there we go: lockdowns again. The actions without precedent broke what we previously believed to be unbreakable. We are still feeling the effects. Nor is it surprising to see the FDA’s regulatory hands mixed up in this, regardless of whether the recall was or was not justified.

It is just not enough to blame supply chains, or assure parents that formula-producing factories are working twenty-four hour shifts to try to fill demand. Forty percent of America’s baby formula is out of stock. This is actually an emergency situation.

It’s not just an American problem either, it’s affecting Canadian families as well. This is a real health crisis, and we know why it’s happened, but why aren’t more people talking about it and doing something about it? Why isn’t any politician or company stepping up for North American babies? I’m sorry Biden administration, “we’re working on it” just isn’t good enough.

American airwaves have been burning up over the past several weeks in the wake of the Supreme Court “leak” on Roe vs Wade. Politicians on both sides of the aisle are everywhere talking about abortion. And while both sides of the abortion debate churn out articles, demonstrate, put out social media posts like there’s no tomorrow, and fundraise for their cause, there are living North American babies that we all need to be worried about right now.

This shouldn’t be a left wing or a right wing thing. This shouldn’t be a Democrat versus Republican thing. Left wingers and right wingers all have babies and toddlers, and those babies, grandchildren of those of the political left and right, will be starving soon if our leadership doesn’t get its act together.

For the past two years, our governments demonstrated their extraordinary powers and their willingness and eagerness  to flex their extraordinary muscle under the guise of “health policy” and “fighting Covid.” They mobilized national and international bureaucracies and agencies, increased surveillance, encouraged unprecedented censorship, ramped up vaccine development and manufacturing, curbed our free speech, our mobility rights, our right to assemble, our right to practice our religion and our right to dissent.

There is no shortage of political power on this continent. Oddly, for the most righteous cause of infant hunger and starvation, there is no political will. This is the astonishing reality, and it’s anti-human and terrifying.

You would think that in an allegedly civilized society, that babies and toddlers going hungry right in our own backyards would be a non-partisan issue and a societal priority. Sadly, if you thought that, you’d be wrong. Babies don’t know how you voted. They just need us. Now.

Woe unto us and pity the children.

From the Brownstone Institute

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Laura Rosen Cohen is a Toronto writer. Her work has been featured in The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, National Post, The Jerusalem Post, The Jerusalem Report, The Canadian Jewish News, and Newsweek among others. She is a special needs parent and also a columnist and the official In House Jewish Mother of internationally best-selling author Mark Steyn at SteynOnline.com.
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