Entertainer Bette Midler came under fire on Friday after she told mothers to “try breastfeeding” in response to the national formula shortage.
“TRY BREASTFEEDING!” It’s free and available on demand,” Ms Midler tweeted Thursday in response to a message from MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle.
Ms Midler was pushed back by many speakers who said breastfeeding is not always possible for new mothers.
“Bette, respectfully, this is a very bad take,” tweeted Ilyse Hogue, former president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “I had twins. I did not produce enough milk for both. Without formula, I would have had to choose which one to eat. Not to mention the children who are separated from their very young biological mothers.
Blue-check author Jennifer Sey called Ms Midler’s tweet “deeply insensitive”.
“First, there are a million reasons why some women can’t breastfeed at all, or can’t breastfeed full time and supplement with formula,” Ms Sey tweeted. “Second, women don’t even need a ‘reason’. She can decide not to just because she doesn’t want to. Period.”
Once new mothers stop breastfeeding, their milk will quickly dry up, which means they will no longer be able to breastfeed their baby.
“When you stop breastfeeding, your body gradually stops producing milk. Lack of stimulation tells your body to stop breastfeeding,” WebMD says, adding “breast milk can take days, weeks or months to dry up.
TRY BREASTFEEDING! It’s free and available on demand. https://t.co/15xetgg1ps
– Bettmiddel (@BetteMidler) May 13, 2022
Ms Midler quickly went back on his advice.
“People are piling up because of [a] old tweet,” she tweeted. “No shame if you can’t breastfeed, but if you can and you’re somehow convinced that your own milk isn’t as good as a ‘scientifically studied product’, it is something else again. The news of the monopoly is news to me, but no lie.
Ms Midler added the hashtag #WETNURSES.
Ms Ruhle tweeted on Thursday that the infant formula industry was a “secret oligopoly” because “3 US companies control over 90% of mkt – extremely restrictive regulations (thanks to great lobbying) prohibit foreign formulas”.
The Biden administration is grappling with a worsening formula shortage. Around 43% of popular infant formula brands were sold in the first week of May, according to retail data collection firm Datasembly, which tracks infant formula inventory at more than 11,000 sellers. Americans.
The administration on Friday announced a website to help parents track down infant formula.
• Jeff Mordock and Kerry Picket contributed to this report.