Why the formula shortage has to be the last straw
First there was Covid, which thrust working parents, disproportionately moms, into the impossible balance of working professional, child caretaker, and home-school educator. Now there’s a devastating nationwide formula shortage. If Covid wasn’t enough to make us re-evaluate how our society treats our working parents, particularly moms, (and it really should have been), this latest formula shortage has got to be the last straw.
As a Covid mom myself (the pandemic started about half way into my pregnancy), I’ve been reflecting lately a lot on my experiences as a new mom and how they were different from so many of my friends who had kids pre-pandemic.
The biggest difference? With travel bans and stay-at-home orders, how I was able to feed my baby. I breastfed exclusively (pretty much no pumping and no formula) for a year. Was it tough? Yes. Would I do it again? To be determined. But I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to have done that – and I feel grateful that my baby was able to do it, since I know what a struggle breastfeeding can be for so many. Had I given birth outside of the pandemic, I know my experience would have been a lot different. As I think ahead to what my feeding journey will look like when I have a second baby, I can’t help but to feel anxious.
My point here is not at all about breast being best. I don’t believe that at all - every parent knows what feeding method is best for them and their baby. That’s what I believe. My point is about CHOICE. I want the choice to be able to feed my baby how I want and for as long as I want - whether that’s breastfeeding, pumping and bottles, formula, or a mix of all of the above – and as a society, I think we have a responsibility to allow for that choice.
The formula shortage to me is clearly highlighting a larger societal issue: parents don’t have sufficient choices when it comes to feeding our babies because as a society we’re failing to prioritize how important these choices are.
Without appropriate (and what appropriate means can be saved for a later blog post) federally supported maternity leave, society is dictating the feeding choices we make as parents for our babies. And if society is going to force parents into certain feeding decisions, then society needs to make sure that they are taken care of.
We need to do better by our working parents. The government can do better. We as business leaders can do better. Kudos is committed to supporting our working parents and their choices around how they feed their babies, and I am proud to work here because of it.
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