Viral video of a confrontation between two people buying formula in a Massachusetts mall encapsulates the frustration that many parents are feeling amid the nationwide shortage.
The video shows almost completely empty shelves at a store and a shopping cart full of what appears to be a few dozen bottles of formula.
“Look at the shelves,” says the woman taking the video to the woman with the cart. “You don’t think I need it for my baby, too?”
The exchange was filmed May 10 at the Target at Braintree’s South Shore Plaza Mall, according to the woman who took the video, 23-year-old Autumn Geyer. The video had about 1 million views by Friday across two posts on TikTok.
“I would much rather you go to the emergency room to receive formula then even try to change the recipe of your formula,” says pediatrician Dr. Rebekah Diamond. She joined LX News to debunk misleading baby formula “hacks” that have spread on social media and explain why breastfeeding cannot solve the current formula shortage.
Geyer told NBC News that, since May, she’s been having a very hard time finding the formula her now 3 month-old son, Coltan, needs.
“All my photos are from the same Target of me going every single day for three weeks trying to find formula. There’ll be restocks of random formulas but his formula was never restocked and still without it to this day,” Geyer said Friday.
By then, Coltan had gone four days without the brand of Enfamil with the formula that’s kept him from being fussy, Geyer said. He was in the neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, when he was born, and his doctor said that if he begins to show he’s getting a lack of nutrients, he’d have to go back to the hospital.
The baby formula shortage was sparked by the closure of a production plant because of contamination issues and a subsequent recall. Last week, the share of baby formula out of stock across the country rose to 45%, retail pricing data tracking company Datasembly said Thursday.
Keiko Zoll, from Swampscott, Massachusetts, created the website “Free Formula Exchange,” which connects people who need baby formula with those who have it.
Geyer told NBC News she’d asked the woman with the formula to share some of what she’d taken and the woman refused, though the other woman in the video notes that the woman speaking with her didn’t ask to share.
“This is the whole reason there’s a formula shortage,” Geyer tells the woman in the video.
It wasn’t clear from the video who the other person in the confrontation was or why she was buying the formula.