Where Did All the Formula Go? How you can help during this nationwide crisis.

By Babe | Illustration by Ana Hard

At Babe we believe that fed is best – whether you breast or formula feed. But what happens when you can’t do either?

In another “WTF is going on in this world” moment, new mothers all over the country are scrambling due to a beyond scary shortage of infant formula. They’re hitting up Walgreens, CVS and online shops like crazy in the hopes they can secure just one more can or box. Even our friends at Bobbie have temporarily stopped taking new customers.

The conspiracy theorist in us can’t help but wonder whether this is yet another move by the far right to hold us down. But, according to the New York Times, the shortage began with a recall of a defective brand after at least four babies were hospitalized with bacterial infection and two babies died. But the recall has worsened thanks to supply-chain issues and labor shortages.

The F.D.A. is leading the federal response and said officials were working with Abbott Nutrition, the company involved in the recall, to restart production at its plant in Sturgis, Mich. The agency is also meeting regularly with infant formula manufacturers to increase production capacity and urging retailers to consider placing sales limits on infant formula products.

“We recognize that many consumers have been unable to access infant formula and critical medical foods they are accustomed to using and are frustrated by their inability to do so,” the F.D.A. commissioner, Dr. Robert M. Califf, said in a statement. “We are doing everything in our power to ensure there is adequate product available where and when they need it.”

Online, private sellers are gouging prices and marketing cans for double or triple their price (LAME), and many large retailers are sold out. Meanwhile Abbott Nutrition said it was doing everything it could, including increasing production at its other U.S. plants and shipping products from its facility in Ireland.

Obviously this issue affects moms in so many ways. For those who cannot nurse, it’s literally a matter of life and death. Other women rely on formula so that they can work, tend to their other children or care for ailing parents. Moms and babies need formula to survive.

As we sit and wait for production to ramp up, consider donating unused breast milk to the following donation banks: