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The baby formula shortage: How policies impact mothers and infants' access to breastmilk

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Helena Lopes for Pexels
Parents are scrambling amid the baby formula shortage.

The baby formula shortage has families scrambling.

The crisis began after manufacturer Abbott recalled some powdered baby formulas in February, after investigations into a whistleblower’s tipoff last October. Four infants were hospitalized with bacterial infections and two have died.

This hour on Where We Live, we’ll talk with a researcher of feminist economics about how U.S. maternal leave policies impact a baby’s access to breastmilk, and why formula milk is promoted in low-income communities of color. We’ll also discuss the societal shaming of women who formula feed.

As Abbott aims to restart production, we’ll look at resources available to families. We’ll also weigh in on the regulatory process and other factors that accentuated this crisis and explore long-term solutions.

Dr. Leslie Sude, pediatrician at Yale Medicine Pediatrics, recommends the following resources: 


Nicole Leonard: Health Reporter, Connecticut Public Radio

Dr. Leslie Sude: Pediatrician, Yale Medicine Pediatrics; Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Yale School of Medicine

Samantha Schenck, PhD: Assistant Professor of Economics, Central Connecticut State University. Research interests include feminist economics.

Where We Live is available as a podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. Subscribe and never miss an episode.

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Sujata Srinivasan is a Senior Producer for 'Where We Live,' the flagship news-based, call-in talk show from Connecticut Public Radio, featuring deep dives at the intersection of data-driven narrative and investigative long-form journalism. She's also an editor for the Connecticut Public newsroom.
Lucy is the Executive Producer and Host of Connecticut Public's morning talk show, 'Where We Live.' She’s a longtime public radio reporter covering several beats including immigration, juvenile justice and child welfare issues, education, veterans affairs and the military.