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Lexington doctor encouraging moms who are able to breastfeed amid formula shortage

As families wait for shelves to be stocked, we asked the director of breastfeeding at Kentucky Clinic South if our society is too dependent on infant formula.
Published: May. 23, 2022 at 5:09 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Tons of baby formula landed in the U.S. over the weekend in an effort to ease the nationwide shortage.

As families wait for shelves to be stocked, we asked the director of breastfeeding at Kentucky Clinic South if our society is too dependent on infant formula.

Dr. Rebecca Collins says there are a lot of stressors why some women can’t breastfeed and formula is needed. She says lactation education and support is needed especially in some underserved communities.

“Are we too dependent? I mean, I think they have to have a good option,” said Dr. Collins. “If everyone breastfed then formula shortage would not be an issue, but not everyone is successful and not everyone can.”

Dr. Collins says several internal and external factors prevent some moms from nursing. She says our society has evolved and people who need help breastfeeding need support.

“I think we have lost our community, said Dr. Collins. “Many people have kids, they are sort of isolated.”

Getting more moms who can breastfeed, to breastfeed is one of her goals.

“Still, only about 53 percent of our moms leave the hospital just breastfeeding,” said Dr. Collins. “Am I good with it? No. Can we do better? Yes.”

Another issue, some moms have to go back to work after delivery.

“We have terrible maternity leave policies in our country,” said Dr. Collins. “So, a lot of national things need to change.”

Riah Durick agrees. She breastfed her daughter, Eva, and now she’s pregnant with a boy. She says our society is set up to depend on baby formula.

“How can we not be? Our society is not set up to support breastfeeding parents,” said Durick. “There’s no federally mandated leave to support the establishment that is required for milk.”

Dr. Collins believes one solution is lactation support and education.

“The biggest thing we could do is educate them on breastfeeding before they have the baby,” Dr. Collins said. We’re not going to get rid of formula but we can decrease the amount of moms needing formula with more support.”

Dr. Collins also has an app that helps moms prepare to breastfeed before the baby arrives.

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