While the baby formula shortage may have fallen out of the headlines, that doesn’t mean that formula is getting easier to buy.
In May, shoppers were hit with an unexpected dearth of baby formula options. According to TIME, these shortages were the result of global factors like “staff shortages due to COVID-19, increased demand for many products and services following the easing of lockdown restrictions, the war in Ukraine and related international sanctions, and shortages of some commodities.”
The issue was compounded by the fact that baby formula producer Abbott allegedly “failed to maintain sanitary conditions in the factory,” leading to the death of two infants, several product recalls, and a full factory shutdown.
Though some issues have been resolved and supply has improved, baby formula can still be hard to find — leading to many social media users making commentary on the subject.
One such user is TikToker @1breyonce. In a video with over 4.6 million views, the user shows the empty shelves at a Walmart location where the baby formula is supposed to be.
@1breyonce America really is a 3rd world country with a gucci belt on.. the ghetto! 😭 #ReasonForBooking #abortion #ftk ♬ original sound – Breyonce ✨
“I just know this ain’t the same country that’s trying to ban abortions and make people have kids,” she says in the video. “How? You can’t feed the kids. How the fuck we supposed to feed them?”
In the caption, she adds, “America really is a 3rd world country with a gucci belt on.”
Many commenters under the TikToker’s video shared their struggles with finding and affording baby formula.
“My coworker’s nephew can only handle a certain type of formula & 8 of us went out looking in legit 8 different towns…nothing,” one user claimed.
“Also…. Why it gotta be so damn expensive????? Like i gotta pay $50 for 1 can of formula? I don’t even spend that much on crab legs,” another wrote.
“Yes! Went to the store today and they didn’t have any of my babies formula,” a third shared. “thankful for family that is gonna try and find me some!”
Soon, the discussion turned to the state of America’s social and healthcare infrastructure in general.
“Don’t even get me started on how backed up my special needs daughters therapists and developmental peds office is,” one user commented.
“Literally on the last dose of childrens Tylenol as well at home. I haven’t been able to find a need for the last two weeks. And I’ve had a sick Toddler and teething baby,” a second wrote.
“Don’t forget the Pitocin and epidural shortage. So they gonna make you have them without meds, without induction meds, and still no formula,” another user stated, referencing reported shortages throughout the end of 2022.
In general, commenters agreed that there should be more efforts made to accommodate new and expectant mothers.
As one user put it, “Every time I have to go back out to look [for formula] I just know I’m going to be crying due to stress. This … world is cruel to Mother’s and our babies.”
The Daily Dot reached out to @1breyonce via TikTok comment.
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*First Published: Jan 1, 2023, 1:03 pm CST
Braden Bjella is a culture writer. His work can be found in Mixmag, Electronic Beats, Schön! magazine, and more.