LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE 2022 US BABY FORMULA SHORTAGE

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2023-04-20

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Abstract

The baby formula shortage was a challenging experience for everyone in the U.S., yet low-income mothers experienced the worst effects of the baby formula shortage. Through conducting virtual interviews of mothers, I built a theory that uncovered three themes and multiple sub-themes that emerged on how low-income mothers coped with the baby formula shortage. These three themes were: (1) Access to and availability of baby formula during the shortage was difficult. (2) Community support in obtaining baby formula played a prominent role in mother's lives. (3) Social services and the healthcare system, specifically doctors, played a significant role in alleviating the baby formula shortage for mothers. Alongside these interviews, a background analysis of the policy and cultural situations was reviewed to provide context on how a baby formula shortage came to be. The background information provided along with the interviews resulted in the creation of policy implications and recommendations ranging from policymakers changing requirements around WIC to social service officers partnering more with community organizations. These two pieces of information undergird this master's project (MP), which is meant to help guide policymakers and social service officers on how to best support low-income mothers and mothers writ large during their potential baby formula purchasing experience. By learning from their experiences and implementing recommendations that tackle the breadth and depth of the issues that caused the baby formula shortage, we can ensure we are effectively supporting two populations that are extremely important to the current and future success of our communities and the U.S., mothers, and infants.

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Butler, Antonio (2023). LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE 2022 US BABY FORMULA SHORTAGE. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/27366.


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