Breast milk is what’s best for babies when possible, but not all mothers are able to breastfeed. With adoption, surrogacy, medical conditions, and the COVID-19 vaccine, mothers cannot breastfeed. Now we have a nationwide formula shortage due to multiple problems such as a formula manufacturer being shut down by the FDA, supply chain shortages, and a small amount of formula makers on the market. A new player is trying to enter the market, BIOMILQ, to create human milk that is made from lab cultures of human milk producing cells. They’re literally trying to make breast milk from a lab. Of course, Bill Gates has invested in this company for some reason, so we can all trust that.
The process for making BIOMILQ is as follows. First the cells are fed nutrients and incubated in a bioreactor which mimics the environment inside of a human woman’s breast. The cells absorb the nutrients and secrete a milk product. That milk product is then collected and sold as milk for babies.
Thankfully BIOMILQ is still three to five years away from being on the market because they need to grow mammary cells at a much larger scale and lower cost. They also need to convince regulators that their product is safe for babies which will be challenging because it will be a new food category. Even if BIOMILQ does pass these many hurdles, it still won’t have the same benefits that breast milk has. Fatty acids which help the brain to develop and grow and hormones such as cortisol helped the baby sleep cycle come naturally from the mother’s blood.
Since it doesn’t look like science is poised to find the perfect answer right away and even if it did, you’d have to wonder if it is the perfect answer, what’s a mom to do? Thankfully there’s lots of ways to handle the formula shortage we’re going through right now.
The first is to get in touch with your pediatrician in order to see if there is an alternative which is readily available on the market that your child can eat. Sometimes pediatricians can prescribe medications for infants if they’re having trouble holding down regular formula. This is one option for infants that need specialized formula due to tummy troubles.
Another option is that you can buy it directly from the manufacturer. Although Similac does not ship directly and offers a weak list of retailers which may have its product other formula manufacturers do. The makers of Enfamil allow mothers to buy their product directly off their website and delivered directly to their home saving a lot of headache and heartbreak in the process.
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Another smaller formula manufacturer is Byheart, which you can buy directly off of their website as well. Even Burtsbees has organic instant formula for parents if they’re interested and can be ordered online and shipped the same day. Some desperate parents are even importing infant formula from Europe in order to feed their infants. European formula is just as safe as formula found in the United States because they also have regulations to prevent contamination or other problems.
While this article is not suggesting that that be a step you take in your search for formula, it is interesting to see how creative parents have become in this difficult time. Whatever you do don’t purchase formula off of eBay or secondhand retailers that are price gouging parents in this desperate situation. It isn’t safe because it hasn’t been through a proper retailer, and it is unfair to price gouge desperate moms and dads.