News·4 min read

Daily Skimm: Baby Formula, Sri Lanka, and Kendrick Lamar

mother feeding her baby
Design: theSkimm | Photo: Getty Images
May 9, 2022

Out of Stock

The Story

The baby formula shortage is getting worse.

What’s going on?

Toward the end of last month, 40% of baby formula was out of stock. It’s a big jump from last year when the out-of-stock rate was around 2-8%. Supply chain issues and brand recalls due to product contaminations didn't help. All of this had major retailers like Target, CVS, and Walgreens limiting baby formula purchases. Meanwhile, prices on just about everything have skyrocketed. The average cost of the most popular formula brands has jumped as much as 18% in the past year.

How are parents doing?

They’re struggling. Only a quarter of babies are exclusively breastfed. That means the remaining three-quarters of parents are relying on formula for the first 4-to-6 months of a baby’s life. A handful of states (Texas, Tennessee, Missouri, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota) are being hit the hardest — with more than half of the available formula sold out. 26 other states are seeing 40-50% out-of-stock rates. The impact on babies’ health could be stark: malnutrition early on in life can have long-term consequences, impacting everything from physical to cognitive development.

What options are there?

If you aren’t able to get a hold of baby formula, ask your pediatrician to help connect them with local resources like milk banks. You may also want to reconsider generic brands. Doctors say they’re just as good as brand names. But many parents are desperate to locate formula. Some have resorted to watering down the servings to stretch out their use. Others have turned to online sites like eBay to try their luck. The FDA and Biden admin say they’re working as fast as they can to try to fix the national shortage. But in the meantime, the agency warns that infant formula should never be diluted or bought online from outside the US. It has also advised against making your own formula.


An estimated millions of parents in the US rely on baby formula to keep their babies healthy. Now, this shortage has some scrambling to feed their babies in their first moments — and months — of life.

PS: Here's what to do — and not do — when it comes to accessing baby formula.

And Also...This

Where there’s turmoil…

Sri Lanka. Yesterday, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa handed in his resignation. The government has faced weeks of nationwide protests for its handling of the country's worst economic crisis in decades. Over the years, government mismanagement and the pandemic have led to fuel, food, and medicine shortages, rolling blackouts, and growing inflation. For months, Sri Lankans have reportedly called on the government to seek help from the International Monetary Fund. And on Monday, the protests got violent: government supporters attacked protesters in the capital, injuring dozens and leading to a nationwide curfew. Now, the PM says the gov’s in bailout talks with the IMF but is stepping down. Protesters celebrated the announcement. But the PM’s brother, who serves as president plans to remain in power.

...Oh and speaking of people in power, Ferdinand Marcos Jr seemed on track to win the Philippines’ presidential election yesterday. The news would bring the son of the country’s former dictator to power — the first time since the ‘80s that a Marcos led the Philippines.

What’s coming to a computer near you…

High-speed internet. Yesterday, the Biden admin revealed that 48 million low-income households will have access to lowered high-speed internet costs. As part of last year’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, 20 internet providers have agreed to either increase speeds or cut prices to $30 a month for households that qualify. President Biden says high-speed internet is a “necessity” and that the new plan will be fast enough for a family of four to work from home and do schoolwork at the same time. Check if you qualify and apply here.

What looks great on a résumé...

A Pulitzer. Yesterday, Columbia University announced the big winners in journalism, poetry, books, and more. Andrea Elliott won for “Invisible Child” — a nonfiction book about a young girl growing up amid New York City’s homeless crisis. Joshua Cohen won the fiction prize for “The Netanyahus” — based loosely on the father of Israel’s former PM. And the Washington Post won the big journalism award for its coverage of the Jan 6 insurrection.

…Oh and, Tony Award noms spread the love far and wide, with no one show getting all the buzz. That's showbiz, baby.

What had people more stumped than usual…

Wordle. Yesterday, some users got the answer "fetus" — prompting a statement from The New York Times. The Times, which acquired Wordle earlier this year, said that this was not intentional — and that the word had been programmed into the game over a year ago. Apparently, the Times had tried to change the word last week but the tech made it hard to change.

Who's saying 'don't knock it until you've tried it'…


Who has us saying ‘DAMN’...

Kendrick Lamar.

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