Bette Midler criticized online commenting on breastfeeding amid formula shortages

Bette Midler is in heat for asking people to “try breastfeeding,” a comment many see as insensitive to parents struggling to feed their babies amid a nationwide shortage of formula.

MSNBC host Stephanie Rowley tweeted Thursday about the shortage, calling the system an “amazing secret oligopoly.”

She said three percent of US companies control 90 percent of the market, and restrictive regulations backed by lobbyists prohibit the sale of foreign formulas.

“Name another industry/sector/product like this,” Ruhli said.

“Try breastfeeding!” Midler replied. “It’s free and available upon request.”

The formula shortage, which began in 2020, has worsened significantly in recent weeks due to labor shortages and product recalls. Retail analytics firm Datasembly reported that 43 percent of formulas were unavailable last week. Abbott NutritionThe company behind the recall said the delay could last eight to 10 weeks.

Breastfeeding and breast milk are not options for many new parents.

One Twitter user replied: “A horrible and wonderful thing to say to women who are unable to breastfeed, Pete.” “It’s more common than you realize… delete this.”

Author and former president of NARAL Pro-Choice America Ellis Hogg replied that when she didn’t produce enough milk to adequately feed her twins.

“Without formula, I would have chosen which one to eat,” she said. “To say nothing of the children who were separated from their mothers at a very young age.”

Another Twitter user said she “fought” to breastfeed her son, but eventually switched to formula because of the stress it was causing for her and her baby.

One Twitter user tweeted that before powdered infant formula was widely available, predominantly black “nurses” were breastfeeding other babies at the expense of their own.

Twitter user KT8812 said: “Breastfeeding has never been so free and available…You took breast milk for black and brown babies from their mothers.”

Experts say that breastfeeding will not solve the problem of lack of milk. While many babies can be adequately fed by a breastfeeding parent, Dr. Rebecca Diamond wrote in a recent article that most babies will also need to be fed formula to supplement the feeding. Health factors, limited opportunities to drink milk during the workday, and allergies can prevent new parents from providing enough milk for their children.

“As a society, we can – and should – promote breastfeeding as a way to support infant health without taking a simplistic and dangerous black and white stance,” Diamond wrote.

Midler responded to the backlash on her tweet Thursday night.

“People are piling on because of a previous tweet. It’s okay if you can’t breastfeed, but if you’re somehow convinced that your milk isn’t as good as a ‘scientifically researched product,’ that’s another thing again,” she said.

And she continued: “The news of the monopoly is news to me, and it is not a lie. #WETNURSES.”

Its follow-up has received similar criticism.

“Do you read people’s stories pile up?” Almost every one is testimonial about why breastfeeding didn’t work for them and not a single one read that said it was because they didn’t think their milk was good enough,” one Twitter user replied. “The formula has saved the lives of many of our children.”

Elizabeth Chuck Contributed.

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