The United States Doesn't Care About Breastfeeding Or Formula — It Cares About Money

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In today’s news (and somewhat complicated mathematical formula), The Handmaids Tail + 1984 + someone didn’t take biology in college = X. Where X = Our president thinking that poor people need poorly made and marketed formula. Then take X + a government that obviously has no regard for the family or women in general, and you get a disapproval of what is a completely reasonable and logical resolution around the importance of human milk for human babies.

The resolution to which I refer is one that, based on decades of research, states that mother’s milk is healthiest for children, and that countries should strive to “limit the inaccurate or misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes.” 

Spoiler alert: There is a lot of inaccurate and misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes, and the FDA skips along its merry corrupt way in response.

But of course nothing can be simple (not even this article), and things one might consider common sense (for example, children should not be forcibly removed from their mother’s arms) are just not within the scope of the limited understanding of our government. The resolution was expected to be approved quickly and without objection by the hundreds of government delegates who gathered in Geneva for the United Nations World Health Assembly.

But America, with formula manufacturers in their greedy pockets, couldn’t be bothered to consider science and instead turned to what is tantamount to blackmail. Instead of just agreeing that breastfeeding is a common sense best practice, we (America) tried to water down the truth by removing language about the importance of human milk.

When that was not very well-received, we threw a rich Nestle baby tantrum. That is to say, when other countries backing the resolution would not accept the diluted American version of it, we dug our heels in and made threats — first to unleash trade punishments on Ecuador (one of the countries backing the resolution). 

So that’s cool. Our reputation as a global bully precedes us.

Then, to make matters worse (if that’s possible), our actual president actually used twitter to say the following:

The failing NY Times Fake News story today about breast feeding must be called out. The U.S. strongly supports breast feeding but we don’t believe women should be denied access to formula. Many women need this option because of malnutrition and poverty.

Okay. Karen, hold my purse.

  1. Breastfeeding is ONE WORD. MY GOD.

  2. A country that “strongly supports breastfeeding” would strongly support a resolution that would undoubtedly impact the health of people not only in that country but around the globe.

  3. POOR PEOPLE DO NOT NEED FORMULA.

First of all, the formula industry makes $70 billion a year. Secondly, a can of formula is $15-30 depending. Boobs are literally free. Assuming you already own them and you’re already eating food.

Secondly, why do poor folks need more access to formula? No. You know what poor folks need? Poor folks need fair wages and better access to affordable childcare. They need federally madated paid parental leave. They need more resources that support them in parenting their children. With no due respect, Mr. President, if formula is so necessary because of the poverty and malnutrition in your country (which, like, doesn't even make sense due to aforementioned free boobs), maybe do something about the POVERTY AND MALNUTRITION seeing as that is LITERALLY YOUR JOB.

Formula, while a perfectly reasonable form of nutrition to support the growth of a human being, is not going to improve their health or protect them from allergies or illness. It’s not going to do anything but cost the family money (and lots of it). And, if said poor person is poor enough to qualify for the meager government food allowance, then it’s actually costing the government (and thus the citizen).

Only not really because for every dollar we spend buying a poor infant manufactured formula we are having it replaced exponentially but the people manufacturing it.

Black mothers have the lowest rate of breastfeeding initiation and duration. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that from 2011 to 2015, the percentage of women who initiated breastfeeding was 64.3 percent for Black women, 81.5 percent for white women, and 81.9 percent for Hispanic women. And while 79.2 percent of infants began breastfeeding, only 20 percent breastfed exclusively for 6 months, and 27.8 percent met the recommended breastfeeding duration of 12 months.

Furthermore, it’s widely known that income, race, and age all impact breastfeeding rates. Why? Their bodies are stigmatized. It may not safe to publicly breastfeed. There is an absence of parental leave and support in the workplace. These are very real barriers to successful breastfeeding. An act repeatedly proven to improve long-term health outcomes. Why wouldn’t we do everything in our vast worldwide power to support these women? 

Third, am I going to have to do a weekly Ways Our Government Is Hurting Women And Children feature? I’m three for three here with babies in cages, the dystopian post-Kennedy Supreme Court, and now this nonsense. 

I don’t have to tell you all the reasons breastmilk is amazing. There is no way you don’t already know this. Also, if you nurse in public, you’re a whore. And, if you’re a formula feeding mother  you failed your child miserably and now they are going to have diabetes and heart disease and an IQ 15 points below average and stunted growth because of your selfishness. This country is such a disaster.

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