Bette Midler blasted online for breastfeeding comment amid formula shortage

Bette Midler is angry for telling people to ‘try breastfeeding’, a comment many see as insensitive to parents struggling to feed their babies amid the national formula shortage.

MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle tweeted about the shortage on Thursday, calling the system an “incredible secret oligopoly.”

Three percent of U.S. companies control more than 90 percent of the market, she said, and restrictive regulations backed by lobbying prohibit the sale of foreign formulas.

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

“TRY BREASTFEEDING!” Midler replied “It’s free and available on demand.”

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% of formulas were out of stock last week. Abbot Nutritionthe company behind the recall said the delay could last eight to ten weeks.

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

“That’s a pretty cruel and awful thing to say to women who can’t breastfeed, Bette,” one Twitter user replied. “It’s a lot more common than you think…remove this.”

Author and former NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue responded that when she wasn’t producing enough milk to properly feed her twins.

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

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

A Twitter user tweeted that before powdered baby formula was widely available, black “nurses” fed other people’s babies at the expense of their own children.

“Breastfeeding has NEVER been free and available… Y’all have taken breast milk meant for black and brown children from their mothers,” Twitter user KT8812 said.

Experts say breastfeeding won’t solve formula shortages. While many babies can be adequately fed by a nursing parent, Dr. Rebekah Diamond wrote in a recent essay that most infants will also need to be fed formula to supplement nutrition. Health factors, limited opportunities to express milk during the workday, and allergies can prevent new parents from providing enough milk for their babies.

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

Midler responded to the backlash for his tweet on Thursday night.

“People are piling up over an old tweet. No shame if you can’t breastfeed, but if you can and you’re somehow convinced that your own milk isn’t not as good as a ‘scientifically studied product’ is something else again.” she says.

She continued, “Monopoly news is news to me, but no lie. #WETNURSES.”

Its follow-up received similar reviews.

“Do you read the stories of people piling up?” Almost everyone has a testimonial as to why breastfeeding didn’t work for them and not a single one I read said the reason was because they didn’t think their milk was good enough. “, a Twitter user responded. “The formula has saved the lives of many of our babies.”

Elizabeth Chuck contributed.

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