On Wednesday, Similac formula company announced a recall. Beetles were found in their formula, formula that feeds thousands and thousands of babies. These bugs can irritate the babies’ stomaches and cause appetite problems.
Understandably, this made a lot of women really angry! I mean, here you have companies who make billions of dollars a year, charge an arm and a leg for formula, formula that so many families rely on to feed their children, and they’ve let dangerous beetles get into that formula. I thought about when I fed my son Similac, before I learned that all formulas are basically equal, and how I would have felt if the recall had happened then. Heck, it still makes my skin crawl even though he’s 19 months old and hasn’t had formula in awhile.
This seems like something all mothers could get behind. Big company lets bugs in their infant food. Spread the word! Support each other! Letter writing campaign!
Instead, I saw a lot of tweets that were just cruel. Women making fun of formula, women pointing out that “breastmilk has never been recalled.” I was dismayed. As someone who identifies as a lactivist, I like to think we’re all better than that.
A LOT of women use formula, for a variety of reasons. I don’t care why. Point is, there shouldn’t be any judgement. We’re all moms, we all love our kids, we’re all trying to do what is best for them. When I made the switch to formula, I felt bad about it. I knew breast is best. I loved nursing my son. But, I needed to switch medications and I didn’t see any other option than formula. Hearing comments like the ones above make me furious. What is their POINT?!
Yes, breastmilk doesn’t get recalled. It doesn’t have bugs in it. Is that supposed to enlighten formula feeding moms? Oh, I’ve been feeding my kid formula but now I’m going to go through the re-lactation process and stop because breastmilk hasn’t been recalled? As one woman said, “We [breastfeeding moms] often complain when we talk about breastfeeding and women turn it into a formula debate. Why is it ok when the issue is formula to turn it into a breastfeeding conversation?”
The formula recall isn’t about breastfeeding. It’s about a formula company engaging in unclean practices that resulted in hurting babies. Instead of gloating that you were able to breastfeed for as long as you and your child wanted, here are some things you could do instead.
1) Let women know that since all formula has been shown to be basically equal, they can take their business to smaller, less pricey formula companies that might make safety a bigger priority.
2) Tweet information on how to complain to Similac. Consumers need to let the company know how angry and scared they are! Let’s facilitate that.
3) If women want an alternative to formula, let them know about milk banks and milk donation.