For the past few weeks, parents have been panicking over a nationwide baby formula shortage. The shortage, which stems from the closure of a manufacturing plant in Michigan due to a contaminated product that resulted in the deaths of two babies, has been going on for months, and has uniquely impacted children with specific dietary needs who require special formula. It has also sent parents into a panic over how they will feed their infant children, prompting them to turn to scammy formula-sharing groups on Facebook and Instagram and even, in some cases, to develop their own homemade formula (which doctors strongly advise against, as it poses a significant health risk).
In light of the formula shortage, many people have responded not by sympathizing with terrified parents worried about whether they’ll be able to feed their children, but by asking a simple and terribly ignorant question: why don’t parents just breastfeed? Considering nearly 15 percent of new parents deal with breastfeeding obstacles ranging from latch issues to low supply (and considering how exhausting and labor-intensive nursing can be even under the best of circumstances), the answer to that question is quite a bit more complicated than breastfeeding advocates are willing to acknowledge — but that hasn’t stopped many on Twitter from using the formula shortage as an opportunity to reinvigorate an age-old breastfeeding versus formula debate, as co-hosts Ej Dickson and Brittany Spanos discuss on this week’s episode of Don’t Let This Flop, Rolling Stone‘s podcast about internet culture.
Some lactation consultants and breastfeeding advocates have also used the formula shortage as an opportunity to promote their own services and breastfeeding in general, regardless of whether new parents are able to or even want to breastfeed (such as this director of breastfeeding support at a Kentucky clinic who plugs her app in this local news story).
On this episode of DLTF, Spanos and Dickson discuss not only the baby formula shortage, but also the unveiling of DeuxMoi, Halsey starting beef with her label on TikTok, and a torch singer parrot crowned Himbo of the Week.
DLTF is released Wednesdays on all audio streaming platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Stitcher and more.
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