As you have most likely heard by now large quantities of Similac Infant Formula have been recalled due to insect contamination. There were beetles and larvae found in the powdered formula and at a manufacturing plant in Michigan. Abbott recalls beetle-tainted Similac baby formula
The news is horrifying. It sickens me to think that there are parents out there that were unsuspectingly feeding their children insect tainted formula. It is a true nightmare and I would not wish that horror upon any parent or child.
This most recent incident further illustrates the need for a restructured way of thinking as it relates to infant formula. Perhaps some change will come about from this most recent unpleasantness but I am not optimistic. Regardless my current personal issue with the recall is the reaction of people around me.
I keep hearing that breastfeeding mothers need to be sensitive to the feelings of formula feeding mothers during this difficult time. Really? Why? Were these people not aware that formula is produced in a factory? I know that I informed myself of all the risks of associated with formula feeding when I made the switch seven months ago: Formula Feeding Finale Insect parts are often found in many edible items that are produced in factories. This is far from groundbreaking news.
That does not mean that I am not sensitive to others during a sensitive time. Quite the contrary as I offered to find the very exact recalled formula for a girlfriend with a newborn since she had to throw some of hers away. It is what any decent person would do. I do not need to be told to be sensitive.
The thing that irks me about the message is the hypocrisy of it. I am not omnipotent so maybe there are some examples that have slipped past my sight but I have never ever heard formula feeders spreading messages of support for breastfeeders. EVER.
There is a lot of talk of how breastfeeding mothers have been been gloating, behaving sanctimoniously, and obnoxiously since the recall. I am sure this is true in some instances but I have not witnessed it first hand. What I have witnessed is people attacking breastfeeding mothers for making the most innocent of statements. A facebook status expressing relief that one does not have to worry about a breast recall elicited a string of rude and judgmental comments. It was seen as gloating by some. Again: really?
Stating the truth is far from an act of insensitivity. Women should be proud of their breastfeeding achievements. Breastfeeding is not always the easiest thing in the world and in many cases for many women it takes tremendous sacrifices to be able to do so. The last thing in the world that these women need to be told is to be "sensitive" and remain quiet.
When is the last time that a formula feeding woman was told to leave a public place for feeding her child? When is the last time a formula feeder had to sit in a disgusting smelly public restroom to feed her child? And when have the formula feeders ever spoken out en masse in support of the women that have faced such harassment? Have the formula feeders ever been asked to be sensitive?
I do understand the reasons why this is such a sensitive topic for a lot of women. Many women wanted nothing more than to be able to breasfeed but for many legitimate, valid, and serious reasons were not able to do so. I know exactly how these women feel. It is painful. However as I have previously stated as mothers women need to own their choices. If one chose to formula feed for any reason then one needs to be comfortable with that decision as one would be with any other parenting choice that people enjoy questioning for a variety of unknown reasons.
I know it is easy to tell people not to feel guilty but I really do not understand why breastfeeding mothers need to be silenced in any way at any time in order not to offend formula feeders. If a woman is not comfortable in her decision to formula feed while I may sympathize it is far from my problem. I have been on both sides of the spectrum. I will always be proud of my breastfeeding achievement and will never be ashamed of the time I spent formula feeding.
There should be no shame in either act but please stop telling breastfeeding mothers to be sensitive unless of course you are going to tell the formula feeders to do the same.
Here are some differing opinions from bloggers I follow: