Mothers told "just breastfeed" amid formula shortages in the US
Hold my drink.
With troubling baby formula shortages affecting the supply of critical infant nutrition in America, some are using the crisis to shame mothers for not breastfeeding.
I don’t know if this is a secret but mothers actually produce breast milk that is tailor-made for their infant. ?
It’s also free ?
— Beatrice Cardenas (@RealBetyCardens) May 9, 2022
Supply chain issues caused by the pandemic and a high-profile product recall in the States, have caused worrying stock shortages for many brands of baby formula.
But hey, no problem. We'll all just magically breastfeed instead, right?
Every tweet about the formula shortage has one asshole dude: “just breastfeed?” I remember the first time my baby drank formula at 3 days old. My milk hadn’t come in. He was starving. He gulped 4oz and finally stopped screaming after 2 days and slept. I sobbed with happiness.
— Lucy Huber (@clhubes) May 12, 2022
To say these people don't understand basic biology is a given, but this sentiment also completely undermines the true cost of breastfeeding.
The women affected most by this —American mothers — often get comically short periods of time off work after having a child. Breastfeeding is a huge undertaking, even if it's literally all you have to do all day.
Try working, pumping, parenting and recovering from childbirth all at the same time, and then we'll talk.
For many, formula isn't just a last resort. Everyone is well within their rights to choose not to breastfeed for a thousand different reasons — none of which are your business.
Formula provides life giving nutrition, but it also provides the gift of choice and in some cases, freedom. Freedom to share night feeds, to go back to work or, heaven forbid, to have some time to yourself.
I breastfed, on demand, for a year. I love breastfeeding.
But I had a year off work.
I also had access to a lactation consultant. And I had the money to pay for my son's tongue tie to be corrected.
I had friends to scour chemists for the right sized nipple shields when it got so sore I couldn't even think with the pain. And I had friends who'd been through it all, who could coach me when I felt like I couldn't go on.
I had the privacy of my own home to leak all over my clothes without embarrassment.
I had access to the internet for late night research when I was confused about things. Or to watch Netflix, bleary-eyed, during hours-long cluster feeds.
With every support and privilege in the world, it was still hard. It was exhausting and emotionally challenging in ways I couldn't have imagined until I did it.
Give me a f****ing break.