A man named Erik Assadourian wrote an article that was recently published in the Guardian, and in it, he called for baby formula to be available only by prescription. Note that he has never breastfed – and how can we be so sure of it? Oh, he’s a man.
He called for a global treaty to “phase out” this “unneeded product” because women all make breast milk.
Yes, a few studies have shown that breast milk is superior to the factory-made formula, so his logic suggest we should just cut off the supply line to formula and drive women back to breastfeeding. The problem in that, though, is that women and babies aren’t theoretical.
Assadourian is the Transforming Cultures project director at the Worldwatch Institute, and he proposes that a global treaty should be created. He called it the “Framework Convention on Formula Control”, and he suggests for it to be modeled on the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. So, he basically compared baby formula to tobacco, and he suggests for the formula to become available only by prescription, and, in his own words, “the formula industry would shrink like an unmilked breast”.
The fact that formula is currently widely available on the shelves of pretty much any local grocery store is NOT the reason why 20 percent of new moms don’t breastfeed, nor the reason why moms don’t breastfeed past the three-month mark.
Some women choose not to breastfeed, and that’s absolutely their right, but some do want to breastfeed, and they’re challenged by health issues.
The issues that new moms struggle with are plentiful: postpartum depression, the fact that working moms are the primary or sole breadwinner for 40 percent of families, the fact that paid maternity leave is not mandated in the U.S., etc.
Assadourian suggested that paid maternity leave be mandated, though, but he insisted that formula companies are producing an “unneeded product” and it can be easily “replaced by breast milk, free and available to nearly all mothers”. Well, breast milk is not free, and it’s most definitely not available to all mothers.
If you really want to help moms and babies, stop mansplaining to women what should they do with their bodies, stop trying to explain how our bodies lactate, and step away from the formula. Let us decide how we take care of our families and what’s best for them and for us.