Baby formula shortage impacting DMV families, non-profits

The White House is promising it's working to fix the shortage of baby formula, but critics on Capitol Hill say the effort is too little too late, and many young families in the DMV are struggling to buy what they need.

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Experts say infants and children with special needs and those in low-income neighborhoods are at the greatest risk of not being fed.

The DC Diaper Bank tells FOX 5 that the shortage means many of their baby formula shelves are empty, and they've had to reduce the amount of formula they give out after a drop in donations.

"Let’s be honest. We don’t even have a good measure of what the entire need is," says Rebecca Kolowe of the Greater DC Diaper Bank. "We’ve always had to limit the amount of formula that we give out and the last couple of months we’ve had to cut that in half."

READ MORE: Pediatrician's plea to parents: Do NOT make your own baby formula

Some moms are turning to social media accounts like "Costco DMV" to identify stores that have baby formula in stock. Many stores are also limiting how much customers can purchase to avoid hoarding. 

"When these shelves are empty, we can’t do it, and it makes me think about hungry babies," says mother Kirsten Davis.

President Biden spoke to baby formula makers on Thursday, asking them to speed up production, prevent price gauging and increase imports.

"President Biden has directed the administration to work urgently to ensure infant formula is safe and available across the country during the voluntary recall," says White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. 

READ MORE: White House directs FDA to import more baby formula amid nationwide shortage

However, House Republicans are blasting the shortage as "shameful."

"Think about this: Children, babies have been put to be hungry while parents are desperately trying to find alternative formulas that are often difficult to procure," says Rep. Elise Stefanik. "This is not a Third World country. This should never happen in the United States of America."


In addition to the supply chain problems, a nationwide FDA recall of baby formula due to unsanitary conditions at a major manufacturer on Feb. 17 added to the problem.