June 6, 2022

39. Helping with the Baby Formula Shortage

Here’s this week’s letter:
Is there any way I can contribute towards helping parents who are facing the baby formula shortage?

Links from today's discussion

Support the show

Welcome back to Spend Donate Invest. I know it’s not just me. There are a lot of things that keep me up at night. Climate change, anti-Blackness, the baby formula shortage. And what surprises me is that we usually talk about how we can vote, or even how we can protest. But I’m curious about the power of our money.

Every week I read a listener letter, do some research, talk to experts, sometimes I’ll read an entire book to be able to provide some thoughts. If you ever want to send in your question, please look for the email address in the show notes. I will never share your name, you have my word on that.

Here’s this week’s letter:
Is there any way I can contribute towards helping parents who are facing the baby formula shortage?

Yes, for the listeners who may have missed it, existing supply chain issues were already causing lower amounts of baby formula to be available for kids and then there was a whistleblower complaint filed against Abbott Laboratories which then led to an unraveling of a long history of unsanitary practices and insufficient regulation for years due to trade associations fighting the FDA from requiring more thorough testing. I’ll include a link with an article that uncovers some of the regulatory missteps and corporate interference.

So how can you help? Maybe this goes without saying, but if you have leftover formula, even if it is opened, donate it. In the past, your donation probably wouldn’t have been accepted at most places, but this shortage is requiring more flexibility on that.

 I am seeing sky high prices for formula in the resale market, so if you can donate money or other baby items to help parents, you can easily find a diaper bank in most areas.

If you can donate breastmilk, you might consider that.

If you have opinions about what parents should be doing to feed their kids whether that is some DIY recipe or weird takes on whether or not babies should be on formula, you can go ahead and keep those to yourself. I went to a gift shop in Texas and bought a book of Texan sayings, one that I'll never forget is to "never miss a good opportunity to shut up."

So those are the 4 things that come to mind if you want to help with the baby formula shortage.
1. Donate your leftover formula, even if it is open or partially used.
2. Donate money or other baby items to diaper banks.
3. Donate breastmilk. A large percentage of kids who need formula aren’t going to be able to benefit from breastmilk, but some will.
4. If you have a hot take on what parents ought to be doing differently, keep it to yourself for now.

If you’ve heard this show before, then you know that the focus is on what we can do with our money. So let’s talk about #2- donating money to help parents alleviate the higher costs they may be encountering for baby formula. You may have heard of a diaper bank before. This is like a food pantry except it is where parents can go to get basic supplies for their kid. You can often get diapers and wipes but also pantry items for babies and nursery items- for example cribs and car seats, and then what I’ve noticed is that some diaper banks are also offering menstrual supplies for parents as well.

We talked about a few organizations in last week’s episode that provide reproductive health services. Many of those places also provide diaper bank type of services. So you can look at the links from last week. Today I’ll also include a link to a diaper bank in DC. If you’re not here, you can google diaper bank and then the name of your city and see what comes up.

Thanks for joining for today’s discussion. You can always send in your questions by emailing the address in the show notes. You might be wondering about how you can support the show. There are a number of ways to do this. You can subscribe, on whatever platform you prefer for your podcasts. You can share an episode with a friend- that’s probably the biggest help you could provide right now. It turns out that’s how people discover podcasts. It’s not me telling people about the show, it’s actually you all- the listeners. You can click on the buy me a coffee link. You can also write a review for the show, or click around on your app and see if it let’s you give the show 5 stars. Thanks for your support and let’s talk again soon.

Links from today's discussion: