Amid worsening shortages of infant formula across the country, Bette Midler tweeted what she thought was an easy, common-sense solution to parents’ struggle to feed their hungry babies.
Outspoken Film and Theater Star declared Thursday evening that moms just “should try breastfeeding. It’s free and available on demand.”
Whether breastfeeding is really “free” is just one of several points raised by many who did not respond favorably to Midler’s tweet. In fact, her tweet triggered a string of reactions, showing the extent to which breastfeeding with a man is a fraught issue for many women in the United States. Saying, “Please don’t be so careless about it.”
Respondents agreed that breast milk provides the best food for babies, loaded with antibodies that protect them from many common childhood illnesses.
She also added that many women cannot breastfeed due to various reasons but get physically and mentally exhausted. Others noted that many women lack the social or economic support to take time off work in their baby’s early months to pump milk or be available to feed on demand.
In the midst of the current crisis, it is not possible for a mother to suddenly resume breastfeeding if she has already switched to bottle-feeding and formula-feeding her baby, as TV writer Amanda Deebert noted on Midler’s Feeds. Had argued in a Tiktok video shared.
“What’s really blowing my mind is that people are reacting to this (shortage), like ‘Why can’t women just breastfeed?'” DeBert said. “As if it’s just something all women can do, or when women haven’t been doing it for three months or six months, and their baby has been formula-fed, or as if the baby could come back with allergies.” do not exist together, or such as adopted children do not exist, or children with single fathers, or same-sex fathers or myriad other circumstances in which infants need formula to feed and live.”
People Don’t Understand How Boobs Work pic.twitter.com/bPu4g8R4Da
— Amanda Deibert🏳️ (@amandadeibert) 13 May 2022
Pamela Barrow, a freelance writer and editor Midler urged “Please, please reconsider this. Many of us, for many reasons, are unable to breastfeed, myself included.” Barrow explained that she can’t breastfeed after a C-section and despite multiple visits to lactation consultants.
author Ellis Hogg Added: “Son, respectfully, that’s a pretty bad take. I had twins. I didn’t make enough milk for both. Without formula, I’d have to choose which one to feed. Not to say anything about babies who have too little are separated from mothers born in age.”
Midler came back on Twitter several hours later and lamented that people were “pile.”
“There’s no shame if you can’t breastfeed, but if you can and are somehow convinced that your own milk isn’t as good as a ‘scientifically researched product’, that’s something again, Midler said.
The actor then indicated that she was learning about the “monopoly” in baby formula manufacturing in the United States that has contributed to the shortage, but she seemed to end her tweet with the hashtag #WETNURSES.
Meanwhile, the discussion about Midler’s original tweet continued with a self-described “mother breastfeeding for 2 1/2 years” pointing out that the practice isn’t really “free.”
“Good for baby? Yes. Free? Not at all.” Sarah Goldrich-Raab tweeted, Professor of Sociology and Medicine at Temple University. She calculated some of her expenses as: “(1) time- 3 hours – 10 hours/day depending on the age of the child and the work of the mother (2) breast pumps and accessories ($250+) (3) nursing bras, Pads, Cloth Suitable for Nursing, Burp Cloth ($300).
Other respondents shared a twitter thread By Clara Jeffery, editor-in-chief of Mother Jones, who said she spent a year as a youth reporter, examined the issues of breastfeeding and formula feeding.
Jeffrey told midler that she was “extremely, even deeply, disappointed that you were taking this line.”
While Jeffrey agreed that there are “many benefits” of breastfeeding, especially in the first few weeks of a baby’s life, she explained that it is “hardly optimal or even possible for many women.” is.”
“Some women just can’t.” Those women, Jeffrey said, are “intimidated to try and discouraged or shamed for using formula.”
Jeffrey then details some of the economic and logistical barriers to breastfeeding.
“You work two part time jobs to support your baby(s) and you spend hours a day nursing? Come on,” tweeted Jeffrey.
“Breast Pumps Are Expensive!” Jeffrey added. “Workplaces that support pumping with both privacy and schedule perks are still pretty rare. Do you think there’s a nursing room behind every McDonald’s?”
“The breast pumps themselves” are heavy and bulky, Jeffrey continued. “Try taking it on the bus to work, or if you have to travel long distances. Do you think most women can afford two and leave one at work? That they have it off A safe place to do it? No.”
Carla Cavasco, an assistant professor at Rutgers University who studies the history of food, body, gender and race in early America, also joined the discussion inspired by Midler’s tweet. He hit back at the idea that before the rise of commercial formula in the 1950s babies only consumed breast milk and that “everything was great”.
“Throughout history, people sometimes needed to feed infants using foods other than breast milk,” says Cevasco started his twitter thread, “Sometimes the giving birth parents are unable to breastfeed. Because: death in childbirth, or physical/mental health concerns, or the need to return to work outside the home soon after the child is born, or their partner or slave forced them not to breastfeed so they could give birth able to return to fertility. ,
If a lactating caregiver was not available, the baby would have to grow on an alternative diet, Sevasco tweeted. Early Europeans fed infants a mixture of animal milk or water, bread crumbs or flour, while women of the Wakanabi people in North America in the 18th century fed infants a mixture of boiled walnuts, cornmeal and water.
Unfortunately, Sevasco said, these milk substitutes weren’t always safe or nutritionally complete, and many children died of disease or starvation.