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History Professor Shuts Down People Arguing That Mothers Should Just Breastfeed Like In The Pre-Formula Days, Paints A Gruesome Picture Of What It Was Really Like
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History, Social Issues2 months ago

History Professor Shuts Down People Arguing That Mothers Should Just Breastfeed Like In The Pre-Formula Days, Paints A Gruesome Picture Of What It Was Really Like

Earlier this year, a severe infant formula shortage hit the United States. This is a frightening situation for parents to find themselves in, as many babies rely on formula as a supplement to breastmilk or as their primary source of nutrients. Some people do not see the severity of the shortage and assume that formula is not a necessity when babies can just breastfeed like they did “back in the day”. To debunk this myth that all babies in the past were breastfed, historian of infant feeding Dr. Carla Cevasco went on Twitter and explained the importance of access to formula. Below you can read her informative thread, as well as some of the responses it has received from concerned readers. Then if you’re interested in hearing from a mom currently struggling with this frightening shortage, you can check out this Bored Panda piece next.

Over the past few months, the United States has been dealing with a severe shortage of baby formula

Image credits: JackPosobiec

Some people don’t understand the importance of formula and assume babies can just go back to breastfeeding like they did in the past

Image credits: Dorothea Lange

So historian Carla Cevasco went on Twitter to dispel the misconception that all babies used to rely on breastmilk

Image credits: Cevasco_Carla

Image credits: Cevasco_Carla

Image credits: Cevasco_Carla

Image credits: Cevasco_Carla

Image credits: Cevasco_Carla

Image credits: Cevasco_Carla

Image credits: Cevasco_Carla

Image credits: Cevasco_Carla

Image credits: Cevasco_Carla

Carla emphasized that there have been many reasons why babies in the past could not get all their needs met through simple breastfeeding

Image credits: health-foundations

Image credits: Cevasco_Carla

Image credits: Cevasco_Carla

Image credits: Cevasco_Carla

Image credits: Cevasco_Carla

Image credits: Cevasco_Carla

Image credits: Messy Nessy

She went on to explain that a lack of access to formula means the health of many babies will be jeopardized

Image credits: Cevasco_Carla

Image credits: Cevasco_Carla

Image credits: Cevasco_Carla

Image credits: Cevasco_Carla

Image credits: Cevasco_Carla

Image credits: Cevasco_Carla

Image credits: Cevasco_Carla

Image credits: Sarah Chai

Image credits: Cevasco_Carla

Image credits: Cevasco_Carla

This frightening infant formula shortage was sparked by several factors. The first problem was a recall of multiple brands of formula, after the Food and Drug Administration found traces of a harmful bacteria in a Michigan Abbott Nutrition plant. The plant, which produces 40% of the baby formula sold in the US, was shut down in February 2022. However, this plant alone did not cause the shortage. The pandemic has had an impact on infant formula supply as well, with supply and demand levels fluctuating constantly over the past two years. At the beginning of the pandemic, many parents began to stockpile formula, causing shortages. When the stores restocked, however, purchase levels decreased because everyone was working through what they had purchased early on. “This oscillation made planning for production extremely difficult,” says Lyman Stone, the director of research at the consulting firm Demographic Intelligence. “It was complicated to get an idea of the actual market size.”

The last factor exacerbating this infant formula crisis is America’s regulatory and trade policy. The Food and Drug Administration in the US has extremely strict guidelines and labeling requirements that prohibit most European brands of baby formula from being sold in America, mainly due to technicalities. One study even found that many of those European products are just as healthy, if not healthier, than American brands, but getting them into the country can be incredibly challenging. While some politicians in the US want to rely less on imports and increase production within the country, this shortage is a perfect example of how vulnerable that makes the country.

When it comes to the health of our children, the government should do everything in their power to make sure kids are safe and protected. This frightening formula crisis is a result of several unfortunate factors, but that doesn’t make it any easier for parents in the US to handle. Hopefully, the supply of formula will be increased as soon as possible, and parents will never have to worry about where their babies’ meals are coming from  again. Let us know how you feel about this situation in the comments, and if you have any suggestions for where parents can access formula, feel free to share.

Readers have responded to Carla’s thread with more examples of the importance of formula

Image credits: kristysf

Image credits: Ankeborgsboende

Image credits: LRuko

Image credits: LeslieMiikal

Image credits: weirdowoman24

Image credits: laura118b

Image credits: Rizabellepow

Image credits: TKSquaredLLC

Image credits: RayRayFuss

Image credits: rikki_texas

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Hey pandas, what do you think?
Matthew Daniel
Community Member
2 months ago

Often the problem seems to be old white men. Stop telling women how their body does or should work. Stop telling women that others should decide their reproductive rights. Stop telling women that their pain for whatever reason will only last 10 minutes so you don't need pain relief. As one woman on Quora said "A vasectomy only takes 10 minutes, so surely men don't need anaesthesia". Stop telling women to breastfeed and then demonising them for feeding in public. Stop telling women that breast is best. We all know and agree with that, you aren't educating them. There are reasons why someone might not be breastfeeding. None of them are your business unless it's because you don't provide parental leave like a civilised person or country.

Poeha
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

A Dutch guy said it didn't matter that America had a milk shortage, cause women should just breastfeed. I said: If you give bottle milk and all of a sudden there is no bottle milk anymore, you can't start producing milk anymore. So stupid. It was no problem for my wife, so others have to do it too. We call em breast feed maffia.

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Plenty Pineapples
Community Member
2 months ago

When my first baby was born, term baby, healthy baby, he latched on beautifully. I couldn't understand why he wouldn't stop crying. I will forever be grateful to the midwife who realised that I had no milk. If she hadn't, he would have starved. I was an exhausted new mum and didn't think to check. I was attached to the pump pretty much for a week after he was born, day and night, every 3 hours, trying to get my milk to come in. Rather than enjoying my beautiful new baby I felt guilty for not being able to "feed him properly". Obviously we ended up giving him formula but that wasn't without problems. Not every formula is suitable for every baby and often you to try a few different brands. But there was no one to advise as the government wants to promote breastfeeding (I live in Australia where healthcare is universal, I got a free lactation consultant at the hospital and a visit by a midwife after going home). Without formula, my babies would have starved to death.

Zophra
Community Member
2 months ago

Same here. No milk. Lots of post-partum anxiety and an unfortunate "positive" feedback loop.

Load More Replies...
Gg
Community Member
2 months ago

A lot of women aren't able to. Mind your business. The end.

Bittersweetie
Community Member
2 months ago

EXACTLY! it's not always a given and it's EXTREMELY personal!!

Load More Replies...
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Matthew Daniel
Community Member
2 months ago

Often the problem seems to be old white men. Stop telling women how their body does or should work. Stop telling women that others should decide their reproductive rights. Stop telling women that their pain for whatever reason will only last 10 minutes so you don't need pain relief. As one woman on Quora said "A vasectomy only takes 10 minutes, so surely men don't need anaesthesia". Stop telling women to breastfeed and then demonising them for feeding in public. Stop telling women that breast is best. We all know and agree with that, you aren't educating them. There are reasons why someone might not be breastfeeding. None of them are your business unless it's because you don't provide parental leave like a civilised person or country.

Poeha
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

A Dutch guy said it didn't matter that America had a milk shortage, cause women should just breastfeed. I said: If you give bottle milk and all of a sudden there is no bottle milk anymore, you can't start producing milk anymore. So stupid. It was no problem for my wife, so others have to do it too. We call em breast feed maffia.

Load More Replies...
Plenty Pineapples
Community Member
2 months ago

When my first baby was born, term baby, healthy baby, he latched on beautifully. I couldn't understand why he wouldn't stop crying. I will forever be grateful to the midwife who realised that I had no milk. If she hadn't, he would have starved. I was an exhausted new mum and didn't think to check. I was attached to the pump pretty much for a week after he was born, day and night, every 3 hours, trying to get my milk to come in. Rather than enjoying my beautiful new baby I felt guilty for not being able to "feed him properly". Obviously we ended up giving him formula but that wasn't without problems. Not every formula is suitable for every baby and often you to try a few different brands. But there was no one to advise as the government wants to promote breastfeeding (I live in Australia where healthcare is universal, I got a free lactation consultant at the hospital and a visit by a midwife after going home). Without formula, my babies would have starved to death.

Zophra
Community Member
2 months ago

Same here. No milk. Lots of post-partum anxiety and an unfortunate "positive" feedback loop.

Load More Replies...
Gg
Community Member
2 months ago

A lot of women aren't able to. Mind your business. The end.

Bittersweetie
Community Member
2 months ago

EXACTLY! it's not always a given and it's EXTREMELY personal!!

Load More Replies...
Load More Comments
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