MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Supply chain disruptions have become a normal part of life in the pandemic. The latest shortage impacts several goods including baby formula, leading parents and doctors to dangerous concerns.
Mom Lillia Osadzinski has had to add yet another thing to her lengthy to-do list to keep her nine-month-old daughter fed.
“I’ve been running around town trying to find Similac Pro Advance,” Osadzinski said.
Like so many parents, Osadzinski is experiencing the realities of another supply chain disruption.
Formula was already tough to get and Osadzinski was placing orders weeks ahead. Then, one of the biggest producers had a massive recall in February.
“I placed an Amazon order scheduled for delivery at the end of the month. I said no problem. Still have one or two cans left,” Osadzinski said. “Then Amazon just updated my order to say it’s out of stock. We don’t know when it’s going to ship.”
Ernie Nichols is an associate professor of supply chain management at the University of Memphis.
He said the hot items in short supply right now include baby formula, lumber, alumnium and semi-conductors used in cars, which means manufacturers are having to make changes.
“Companies are taking options out of the vehicles and it’s delayed production,” Nichols said.
Nichols also said problems could start soon with consumer products like shoes and electronics manufactured in China due to lockdowns from that country’s zero-COVID policy.
“Getting anything these days is hard,” Osadzinski said. “It is a little stressful having to deal with knowing this is her primary food source and it’s pretty scarce to find.”
There is some good news; Le Bonheur pediatricians the formula shortage in the Mid-South is improving. But if you are in a bind, they recommend giving a healthy baby any formula you can find.
If they have allergies, make sure any substitutes are still free of those ingredients. Lastly, they said never to dilute formula with extra water since it could lead to serious consequences and even seizures.
“There’s supply chain issues across the board and unfortunately formula is one of them,” she said.
In the end, Osadzinski did have to switch brands for a few days.