It has been five months since the formula shortage was addressed in the U.S. Maker of popular baby formulas, Abbott laboratories, closed a manufacturing facility in Sturgis, Michigan, in February 2022 due to contamination problems. This contamination contributed to the death of 2 infants and many sick children. Since then, mothers of newborns have hit the stores desperate to find even a box of formula while holding their crying and starving babies in their arms. In addition, many parents drive 4-6 hours to different states looking for baby milk. One mother drove from Austin to Dallas, searching stores with her baby in the backseat.
While others are lucky to have excessive breast milk, some are not. As a result, mothers give their babies donated breast milk as a last resort. A friend of mine in NJ had her sister, who has a five-month baby of her own, breastfeed her newborn. She said she tried everything from lactating drinks to pumping more. Unfortunately, the newborn refused to take her milk.
However, as formula shipments come in from Europe, there is no solution for parents who have to give their babies specialized formula due to specific health issues. A mother wrote on ‘what to expect’ that her baby, due to severe allergy uses a unique formula that is nowhere to be found in stores, and now her baby is admitted to NICU.
As someone who is going to deliver soon, this situation makes me furious. How could the government be so unprepared for something like this?. Even though the Biden administration has stated that the formula will be in stock by July, nothing is guaranteed. In places where the formula is available, parents buy them in bulks—leaving less for others.
Mothers to be, what are you doing to prepare for the shortage?
Many changes occur in a women’s body during pregnancy. After delivery, women go out of their way to get their bodies the way they used to. From postpartum diet to daily exercise. Many even go to extreme levels like surgery. But we fail to realize that some things might not ever be the same. For example, your stretch marks might take years to go away. The days you stayed out late to party with your friends will be missed. You might wonder how your life went from mixing drinks to making a bottle for your newborn every few hours. That postpartum back pain may continue until a decade. YEP, A DECADE!. Your daily schedule has now changed for someone else. And it’s going to stay like that for some time.
You might scroll through your old prepregnancy photos and want to cry. And it is entirely alright to shed a tear. Our body has done so much. Science says a human body can bear up to 45 dels (units) of pain, yet a mother feels 57 dels (units) of pain when giving birth. Even after the baby is born, we are exhausted and sleep-deprived, slowing down our recovery process. Becoming a problem that now starts affecting our mental state.
LET’S TALK ABOUT DEPRESSION
One in seven women suffers from PPD (postpartum depression). Symptoms can appear anytime during pregnancy to the first 12 months after childbirth. Suicide accounts for about 20% of postpartum death and is the second leading cause of mortality in postpartum women. Black and Hispanic women are more likely to get PPD and less likely to get treatment. Did you know that there are 7 types of mood disorders that a woman can experience from pregnancy to postpartum?. So a mother can suffer in silence with a disorder and won’t even know she has it.
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. I myself have met with a counselor while being pregnant. Even if you don’t suffer from PPD there is a positive feeling you get just by sharing your thoughts with others.
Pregnancy and motherhood are not a picnic. And it is unfortunate that many don’t give attention to it. There will be struggles that mothers need to overcome. For working and single mothers, it may be more challenging than others. Speak to your gynecologist and contact online support groups for assistance. Don’t feel guilty to take time out for yourself to love yourself so you can make a healthy and positive environment for you and your baby.