Bette Midler is not the wind beneath new parents’ wings right now.
The “Beaches” star received quite the Twitter lashing after she offered a dismissive take on the baby formula shortage Thursday night.
The shortage has left store shelves across the nation bare of baby formula thanks to COVID-19-related supply chain issues that worsened after Abbott Nutrition, a major formula manufacturer, recalledselect lots of Similac, Alimentum and EleCare products.
“TRY BREASTFEEEDING!” Midler tweeted Thursday night. “It’s free and available on demand.”
TRY BREASTFEEEDING! It’s free and available on demand. https://t.co/15xetgg1ps
— bettemidler (@BetteMidler) May 13, 2022
Her flippant solution to a complex problem was in response to a tweet from MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle, who emphasized the severity of the situation by noting that the “baby formula shortage reveals an amazing secret oligopoly” of three companies owning “90%” of the market.
People on Twitter were quick to point out how truly ignorant Midler’s comment came off.
Oof. Powerfully bad take.
— The Hoarse Whisperer (@TheRealHoarse) May 13, 2022
Imagine having a large gay fanbase, many of whom are raising kids in two-dad households, and thinking this is a good suggestion.
— Tim Carvell (@timcarvell) May 13, 2022
I am exhausted by having to remind people that breastfeeding is not "free," or "easy." Not if you're disabled, or dealing with PPD, or unable to take the time off work, or, or, or--
I am exhausted by having to remind people nothing about childbirth/child care is easy or free
— Elle Em (@ellle_em) May 14, 2022
Bette, respectfully, this is a very bad take. I had twins. I didn’t produce enough milk for both. Without formula, I would have had to have chosen which one got to eat. To say nothing of kids that get separated from the birth mothers very young.
— Ilyse Hogue (@ilyseh) May 13, 2022
I love you Bette, but this is not okay. I fought to breastfeed my son, he kept losing weight, despite my best efforts, including lactation experts. It was emotional and 💔 I felt like a failure and at 3 months switched to formula, because of the stress it put on me and my son.
— What Just Happened🤣 (@Mom2boy_pup_cat) May 13, 2022
We need to stop shaming women. For having sex. For liking sex. For getting raped. For having babies. For not having babies. For breastfeeding. For not breastfeeding. For using daycare. For not using daycare. Please, can we just let women live? Can we please just let them be?
— Shadow of Dot Calm (@DotCalmsshadow) May 13, 2022
You’ve never had mastitis I take it.
— Allison Floyd (@AllisonRFloyd) May 14, 2022
It's free if you have the time to feed a baby every 2 hours for 20 minutes. Or if your body can make milk.
— Goddess of Workarounds (@The_Goonhongo) May 13, 2022
I will never forgive @bettemidler for a take so absurd that I’m forced to agree with Steven “Let’s put the kids in cages” Miller on an issue related to children.
— David the Gnome (@a_maturi) May 13, 2022
Yet, after many laid out plenty of understandable reasons why breastfeeding isn’t an option for all of those who are caring for babies, Midler doubled down on her stance.
People are piling on because of former tweet. No shame if you can’t breastfeed, but if you can & are somehow convinced that your own milk isn’t as good as a “scientifically researched product”, that’s something else again. The monopoly news is news to me, tho, no lie. #WETNURSES
— bettemidler (@BetteMidler) May 13, 2022
“No shame if you can’t breastfeed, but if you can & are somehow convinced that your own milk isn’t as good as a ‘scientifically researched product’, that’s something else again,” the Grammy-winner tweeted Thursday. “The monopoly news is news to me, tho, no lie.”
She then offered another glib solution for those who can’t breastfeed in the form of a snarky and unhelpful hashtag,
Given that not everyone has access to wet nurses, plenty of Twitter went off.
Instead of doubling down, listen.
Formula keeps babies alive. My milk didn’t come in for 5 days. There was no wet nurse. He was starving. I was made to feel like a failure. Hospital okayed formula. He thrived.
Babies died before formula but people like to think they didn’t.
— Jess, Bog Hag 🌻 (@BogHagJess) May 13, 2022
People are piling on because you are working with old information. Women *don’t* believe formula is better than breast milk. They’re *shamed* for using formula, even if it’s their only option. Your tweet re-inforced that women who don’t breastfeed are failures. They’re not.
— Jennifer Bettina Wayne (@BettinaWayne) May 13, 2022
Are you reading the stories of the people "piling on?" Almost every one is a testimony about why breastfeeding didn't work for them and not a single one I've read says the reason was because they didn't think their milk was good enough. Formula saved many of our babies' lives.
— JHG (@WithLoveFromDF) May 13, 2022
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.