People Slam ‘Desperate’ Mom Who Called 911 at 2 a.m. for Formula When Her Breast Milk Dried Up

Shannon Bird and her baby
birdalamode/Instagram & KGET/YouTube

With four kids under her belt, Shannon Bird thought she knew what to expect when she had her fifth baby in December. But late one night in January, the Utah mother was left panic-stricken when she experienced something that had never happened before: Her breastmilk suddenly dried up, and she had no way of feeding her baby London, who was just 6 weeks old. As her daughter's cries escalated, the mom felt desperate for help. It’s what happened next that has some people upset about the situation.

  • If it were daylight, Bird probably would have loaded all five kids into the car and run out to the store for some formula.

    But it wasn't the middle of the day -- it was 2 a.m., and her daughter was screaming to be fed.

    With her husband out of town and her other children sleeping, the panicked mother tried to call neighbors on January 28, to see if anyone had some formula she could use. She'd never supplemented with formula before, but she felt desperate.

    With most of the world fast asleep, her calls went unanswered, which only escalated her worries.

    “I called my husband and we were brainstorming,"the mom later told KSL. "I started calling neighbors and teenagers in the area and my little brother and no one was awake."

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  • Bird did the only thing left she could think to do: She called 911.

    On the call, she tried to convey just how desperate a situation she was in. After all, 911 operators get a wide range of "interesting" calls at all hours of the day. But this was certainly a new one.

    "I’ve been calling neighbors and no one will answer," Bird explained on the call. "I’ve never been in this predicament ever. My milk just literally dried out. This is my fifth kid and this has never happened."

  • A mother's milk supply can begin to dwindle for a number of reasons, according to Breastfeeding USA.

    It can happen for short spells at various times during a breastfeeding journey, and it doesn't always mean anything's wrong. In fact, many mothers experiences low milk supply in the days after a baby is born, the organization noted, when the breasts are producing colostrum and the "real" milk hasn't yet come in. It can also happen again at other points, when a baby's feeding patterns change.

    “Mothers tend to think they've lost their milk if suddenly the baby is fussier, feeding more often, or crying more than usual," lactation consultant Karyn-Grace Clarke, president of the British Columbia Lactation Consultants Association, told Breastfeeding USA. "Sometimes the baby begins to wake more frequently at night or starts taking shorter naps in the day, and the mother may think this means the baby is hungry because she has less milk.”

    Still, regardless of whether that was the case for Bird, the experience of suddenly not being able to nurse on demand left her at a loss for what to do.

    “I’ve never not had food for my newborn,” Bird told KSL. "It was really scary for me."

  • Luckily, two patrolling officers quickly came to her rescue. (Well, sort of.)

    Local police officers Brett Wagstaff and Konner Gabbitas were alerted to the mother's call and rushed to a nearby convenience store -- where they picked up a gallon of milk, according to KSL. 

    But as soon as Wagstaff reached the mother's front door, the officers realized it wasn't that kind of milk the mother needed.

    On body cam footage later reviewed by KSL, Wagstaff can be heard saying, “We’ll leave this with you,” while dropping off the gallon of milk. Then he heads back out in his patrol car.

    “We’ll be right back with some formula for your baby -- she’s adorable,” the officer added.

  • Soon after, the officers found what they were searching for, thanks to a nearby Walmart that was open 24 hours.

    Wagstaff and Gabbitas returned -- formula in hand -- and delivered it to the grateful (and very tired) mother.

    “That’s the same stuff we gave my daughter when she was first born, so hopefully it doesn’t upset her stomach,” Wagstaff was heard saying on the camera footage.

    As if that weren't kind enough, the officers refused to except payment for the formula.

  • Bird later admitted that she was shocked by the officers' kindness.

    In fact, when she dialed 911 in a desperate panic, she wasn't expecting officers to actually fetch the infant formula for her. She actually just hoped they could patrol her house while her 8-year-old monitored his younger siblings, who were still asleep.

    But instead, it looks like the kind-hearted officers, who are members of the Lone Peak Police Department in Alpine, Utah, were determined to go the extra mile. That certainly doesn't surprise Officer Dave Ventrano, who later spoke with KSL.

    “Most of us, we got on this job to help people," Ventrano said, "and this was an example of helping out a mother that was in need."

  • Still, as the story has begun to make headlines, it hasn't come without a fair amount of backlash.

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    morning madness

    A post shared by Shannon Bird (@birdalamode) on

    Most of it seems to come from fellow mothers, who've found Bird's moment of "desperation" a little ... well, unbelievable.

    "I’ll take things that never happened for $1000, Alex!" wrote one woman on Instagram. "Good thing you didn’t marry a soldier."

    "Wow privilege is all I see. But thinks it’s cute to share," added another woman. "Of course she don’t see anything wrong with this."

    "Holy sh--, I would be mortified if this was me. Although it would never be me, because I'd have had formula on hand or frozen breast milk... or woke the damn kids up," another user commented.

    Many made comments about the "crazy waste of resources" that her 911 call resulted in, arguing that at 2 a.m., police should be assisting in actual emergencies. "What a poor lack of planning on your part. SHAME on you, taking time from the police because you aren't smart enough to make sure you have enough formula FOR YOUR CHILD," another critic wrote. "It's not your first child, you should have plenty of experience by now. How self absorbed are you?"

    Others also raised an eyebrow at how "suddenly" her milk supply could have really dried up. 

    "It takes a little while to lose milk supply," one person commented. "So I think this was just laziness. But glad someone helped the baby."

  • If Bird's name sounds familiar, that's probably because you've come across her on Instagram. 

    View this post on Instagram

    petco® run with my litter

    A post shared by Shannon Bird (@birdalamode) on

    The Utah mom commands an impressive following of more than 100K fans, who loyally follow her journey of raising kids Hudson, Holland, Briton, Brooklyn, and her newest addition, baby London.

    In fact, her Instagram notoriety is another big reason why some people were skeptical that the story was completely for real.

    "Are you sure this wasn’t just a ploy to get people to read your blog ... let’s just be honest," one person wrote.

    "She posts these things over and over again because the attention no matter negative or positive is still attention," added another person. "Attention = new followers = more money and more companies to work with to get free stuff."

  • Other Internet sleuths, who began looking back through Birds' Instagram feed, started to pick up on other details too.

    "According to your other posts, you said that you packed up all your kids during a snowstorm just to go to the mall but couldn’t pack them up to get formula for your hungry newborn?" one person asked.

    Many found her constant promotion of her own news story also to read a bit self-involved.

    "Calling 911 for milk/formula shows the world you’re irresponsible," wrote one person. "Recording the news story about the incident, while it’s playing on your living room TV, shows the world you’re a narcissist!"

    Another Instagram user made this shocking claim: "Please save these children from their mother!! Her son has a mysterious fractured leg! CPS has been their several times!!"

    That claim, however, has not yet been substantiated.

  • There were many others, however, who came to Bird's defense.

    View this post on Instagram

    londons 1st flight... wish us luck

    A post shared by Shannon Bird (@birdalamode) on

    "I have two young children," one mother wrote. "I have anxiety driving, I can’t imagine have 5 kids with my husband being out of town and realizing I’m out of formula at 2 am. Such a scary thought, so glad you were able to get the help you needed."

    "People love to judge others," another person commented. "I know how you feel I have three kids of my own two step kids. Taking five kids somewhere is a hassle. Big thanks for the officers helping you!!!"

    "I don’t know why people are being so mean to you!" another chimed in. "You had to do what you had to do and I think it’s wonderful that first responders could help out."

  • Although Bird hasn't publicly responded to the backlash, it was definitely a moment of kindness she says she won't soon forget. 

    "I had never been that frantic," she told KGET, adding that she would like to thank the officers for "helping people when they can't help themselves."