"When you bulk buy and sell baby formula for profit you are taking food out of a baby's mouth."

The shortage of infant formula is hurting Australian families. 

Imagine this: You haven’t really slept for the last six weeks. You and your partner work in shifts. One of you grabs an hour or two of shut-eye while the other looks after your new baby. And despite the crushing exhaustion you love this little being more than anything else in the world. This little being who is seemingly hungry around the clock.

Now imagine not being able to feed that child.

Imagine not being able to feed your child. Image via iStock.

This is the threat that hangs over thousands of Australian parents as the country deals with another mammoth shortage of infant formula.

Bellamys, Karicare and A2 have all put customers on alert. They simply can’t keep up with the sudden increase in demand for their product.

The lack of availability is being blamed, largely on the Chinese grey market. Those keen to make a quick buck are bulk buying baby formula and either shipping it overseas or selling online for 3 or 4 times the retail price.

It’s left mums and dads here stressed out and worried about providing food for their kids with desperate parents driving for miles to try and find the brand their babies need.

The situation could be easily resolved, with a little compassion and common sense.

Coles and Woolies have already imposed limits on the number of tins customers can buy.

But these restrictions don’t go far enough and as this photo doing the rounds on social media shows, they’re not being enforced.

The image that has been circulating on Facebook.

The big chains do have the power to make sure restrictions are imposed countrywide, and a two tin limit would go a long way to ensuring kids don’t have their diet disrupted. Or they could place formula in the same bracket as cigarettes and alcohol, and ask shoppers to produce ID before selling it.

While some might find it frustrating, watching a mum with a hungry baby breaking down in tears at the checkout would surely change their minds.

For those stocking up and selling on, you need to take a good long hard look at yourselves.

Perhaps you think formula is fair game, and if you’re there to strip the palette bare as soon as it hits the supermarket floor, too bad. Parents should get there sooner if they want to snap up the precious brands. But you’re not operating on three hours sleep. If you don’t succeed you miss out on a few dollars, they are left with a child they can’t feed.

Or maybe you believe nobody’s getting hurt, because there are lots of other brands left on the shelves.

Watch The Project’s report on the ‘formula wars’. Post continues below. 

Video via Channel 10

But young babies have very delicate digestive systems.

Swapping formulas can leave babies vomiting, constipated or fighting infection.

And specific formulas for those kids who suffer from allergies are among those vanishing from the shelves.

How would you feel if a child had an adverse reaction to a new mix and ended up in hospital because you’d bought up the only product they could safely eat?

Parents can’t just swap and those who’ve been forced to are often left with very sick children.

When you bulk buy and sell for profit you are taking food out of a child’s mouth.

It’s literally stealing from a baby.

How do you think the formula crisis should be handled?