Does coronavirus mean breastfeeding mothers should switch to formula? A satire.

baby milk bottle

We live in the age of coronavirus and it’s time to ask a critical, but uncomfortable question: should breastfeeding mothers switch their babies to exclusive formula feeding?

It should be up to individual mothers, but here are some important factors to keep in mind.

Should breastfeeding mothers switch their babies to exclusive formula feeding?

1. Without a diversity of sources, babies are excruciatingly vulnerable when breastmilk dries up.

Those who formula feed can get formula at their supermarket, their pharmacy, from stores like Walmart and Target, from Amazon and even from the manufacturer directly. Breastfeeding infants are restricted to the manufacturer only and if she gets sick and or hospitalized, they can starve!

2. Coronavirus is transmitted by respiratory droplets.

Therefore, women who become ill with coronavirus spew the virus over their breastfeeding infants, putting them at risk for illness.

3. Is there a breastmilk shortage? Probably not yet, but it’s a real possibility as more women become infected!

Should breastfeeding mothers worry? Of course! I hope I’ve done my part to make you scared out of your mind!!

*****

If you read this far, you’re probably wondering what is going on.

It’s simple: I’m copying lactivists who are trying to incite panic around formula.

There are always people who view a massive tragedy as an opportunity for personal gain. Consider the Tennessee brothers who hoarded hand sanitizer so they could gouge consumers on Amazon. They were off to a highly profitable start when Amazon noticed and shut them down. Facing state investigation, they decided to donate their stock.

Amazingly, lactivists (like the homebirth midwives I wrote about last week) view the pandemic as a marketing opportunity.

I kid you not! At a moment when each of us should be doing our utmost to reassure others that we will get through this extraordinary hardship together, lactivists are aggressively promoting the notion that there is a formula shortage.

There is no shortage of formula. It is easily available online and in most grocery stores, supermarkets and other retailers. But lactivists are so aggressive in their attempts to scare mothers that formula companies have had to publicly respond to deny that there is, was or will be a shortage.

Why would lactivist create and propagate such a vicious falsehood?

Two reasons: punishment and projection.

Lactivists seem to have a deep, abiding, ugly need to harass formula feeders.

That’s what’s behind periodic calls to make formula prescription only.

Requiring a prescription for infant formula is a form of shaming. How dare a woman imagine that she is entitled to determine how her own breasts are used? She should be required to abase herself in order to feed her baby the way she thinks is best for her baby, herself and her family.

It’s cruel, but it is far outstripped in cruelty by the current attempts to incite fear of a formula shortage.

For example, this “public service announcement” on Facebook:

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If you breastfeed like a real mom, you wouldn’t have to worry about the formula shortage.

Or this lactivist who claims she is hoarding formula to sell it:

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And THIS ladies is why breastfeeding is a vital part of life as a mammal. IT’S FREE WAY HEALTHIER AND IF YOU WAS EDUCATED ON IT PROPERLY and NOT LAZY & SELFISH those very who actually CAN’T do it would be fine

Or this lactivist:

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Actually during this time of formula shortage breastfeeding can save a babies lives. I’m actually going to relactate so I don’t have to worry about formula anymore

I doubt she stopped breastfeeding, but the truth is that relactation after complete weaning is usually very difficult, if not impossible, and almost never produces enough to fully nourish a baby.

Lactivists are cruelly trying to use the deadly pandemic to punish women who formula feed by frightening them about supply, but there’s something else going on:

Lactivists are projecting!

They are the ones who are worried about their babies’ supply because they might get sick and not be able to provide enough or — if they become critically ill — any breastmilk. They subconsciously fear that THEIR babies are the ones who might suffer and reassure themselves by inciting other women to worry.

The ugly truth is that lactivists promoting rumors of formula shortages are no different from the Tennessee brothers who thought they could make a buck by price gouging on hand sanitizer. In this time of international crisis, when everyone should be helping everyone else, lactivists care only about victimizing others!

  • mabelcruet

    Just made available online-epidemiology of Covid-19 in children. Basically, less severe disease than adults, but more serious in the very young as opposed to older children:

    https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/early/2020/03/16/peds.2020-0702.full.pdf

  • Sue

    OT – the incredible Dr Catherine Hamlin the “‘Saint of Addis Ababa” – has died at age 96.

    This extraordinary woman founded the Fistula Hospitals that repaired obstetric fistulae for the thousands of women who would otherwise be incontinent and outcast in Ethiopia. She continued working well into her 90s.

    Vale Dr Hamlin – the surgeon who fixed the harm that “natural birth” created, and restored a dignified life to many thousands of women.

    • AnnaPDE

      So sad – she did such immense good. I hope her Foundation will carry on!

      • mabelcruet

        It definitely will-there’s now a whole network of clinics, as well as a midwifery training school producing proper degree level midwives (honestly, they should send all the US CPMs there to get a proper education…!)

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.
      Godspeed, Dr. Hamlin. Godspeed.

  • rational thinker

    “And THIS ladies is why breastfeeding is a vital part of life as a
    mammal. IT’S FREE WAY HEALTHIER AND IF YOU WAS EDUCATED ON IT PROPERLY
    and NOT LAZY & SELFISH those very who actually CAN’T do it would be
    fine”

    Wow, what an asshole. She is lecturing other people about being uneducated when her whole comment was an assault on the English language. She needs to do herself a favor and enroll in fourth grade English classes.

  • Heidi

    What a garbage bag Kaee is.

  • Inmara

    Have you seen the new WHO guidelines on breastfeeding for COVID-19 positive mothers? From what I read in the translation to my language, there was not a single mention of an option to give baby to someone else and feed with formula; instead there was and acknowledgement that virus can be spread to infant from mother, thus she needs to cover with mask, disinfect herself before feeding and after feeding, and if the infant is to be kept separate, then, of course, pump and sterilize everything after pumping. So lactivists are on their usual train with this.

    • rational thinker

      The WHO is endangering the health of infants with this bullshit.

  • fiftyfifty1

    I figured they would do this. What losers.

    • mabelcruet

      Absolutely. This is along the same lines as those who refuse to allow donations of formula to food banks-luckily our local one ignores that, but how dare they decide to penalise families because the woman can’t or doesn’t want to breast feed?

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        Quite. We have two major local food banks here. Of the two, one accepts formula and baby food. The other does not. Now, that’s not the only reason we support that one (other reasons include that our church collects food for it so yay, no extra driving) but it is a motivator.