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Impact of the Infant Formula Shortage on Breastfeeding Rates

Published:December 16, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pedhc.2022.11.006

      Highlights

      • The infant formula shortage of 2022 affected infant feeding choices.
      • Breastfeeding rates significantly increased during the formula shortage.
      • It is uncertain whether increased breastfeeding rates will be sustainable.
      • The Theory of Planned Behavior helps understand infant feeding decisions.

      Introduction

      This study aimed to determine the impact of the infant formula shortage on breastfeeding rates.

      Method

      The sample included infants attending newborn through 2-month visits at a rural pediatric practice. Preshortage data was compared with postshortage data from newborn (pre: n = 302; post: n = 302), 1-month (pre: n = 273, post: n = 259), and 2-month (pre: n = 255; post: n = 234) visits.

      Results

      Data analysis using Pearson's χ2 and Mann-Whitney tests found a significant increase in breastfeeding rates postshortage compared with preshortage. Breastfeeding initiation increased by 10.6% compared with preshortage.

      Discussion

      Many factors contributed to the significant increase in breastfeeding initiation during the formula shortage. Reports of illnesses associated with the ingestion of infant formula made breastfeeding more appealing. Furthermore, breast milk was readily available, whereas formula was not. Positive breastfeeding experiences during the formula shortage may lead to a sustained increase in breastfeeding.

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      Biography

      Annie Imboden, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, IL.

      Biography

      Bernadette Sobczak, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, IL.

      Biography

      Nancy A. Kurilla, Instructor, School of Nursing, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, IL.