News of families struggling to find baby formula continues to grow nationwide. Parents have become desperate to find nourishment for their little ones, sometimes going to four, five, or more stores in one day to find product. As the government tries to find solutions to rectify the situation, products may not find their way on shelves for weeks. As it takes a village, many people are wanting to help. According to the experts, here are five ways to help families struggling from the baby formula shortage.
“It’s easy to feel helpless, but there’s a lot the community and extended family can do to help struggling parents right now,” said Sarah Fleet, M.D., director of the Growth and Nutrition Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, in a recent interview with Parents.com.
You don’t have to be a parent or a parent of a little to help. Take a look below at what you can do.
1. Share Locations of Stores With Formula on Social Media
Social media is a goldmine of information. We are all out and about shopping for necessities. If you spot some formula, post the locations on your social media to help others.
“Join a local Facebook or social media group dedicated to helping parents find formula,” suggests Kelsey Klaas, M.D., a pediatrician with the Mayo Clinic based in Rochester, Minnesota. “If you see formula on a shelf, take a picture and post the time and location of where you saw it.”
2. Donate Unopened Formula or Formula Samples
If you are a parent, there is a chance that you have unopened formula or formula samples that you cannot use for one reason or another. Consider donating those unused items to those in need. Hypoallergenic formula is a truly needed item during these challenging times. Contact your pediatricians office, they unquestionably have a wait-list.
“If you are part of a mommy group or neighborhood community group where you can help organize one centralized location for people to exchange and donate surplus formulas it can be very helpful for other families,” Rashmi Jain, M.D., a concierge pediatrician in Irvine, California and founder of BabiesMD said.
3. Give to Your Local Food Banks
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 38 million people live in food-insecure household. Food banks help these individuals to make it through. And many of those who utilize food banks are parents to infants.
“Consider donating time or money to a local food bank, so they can mobilize faster when more formula is available,” said Dr. Klaas.
4. Offer Time and Support to Parents to Help Them Relieve Stress
Parents of children on baby formula right now are stressed! One more thing has been added to their plate. Take over a meal, offer to baby sit for an hour or so, or even offer, if they have them, to take older siblings out for a bit. Remember, it takes a village. Let these parents know that you are there to help them take care of their own mental health.
5. Share Helpful Resources
Many parents are probably too busy to really hone-in on the latest guidelines and recommendations. Give them a hand. Share helpful resources with them online or even through a text, just to make sure that they are kept up to speed on what is going on.
Hang in there parents! We are all in this together with you.