Bette Midler is getting heat for telling people to “try breastfeeding,” a comment that many view as insensitive to parents struggling to feed their babies amid the nationwide formula shortage.
MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle on Thursday tweeted about the shortage, calling the system an “amazing secret oligopoly.”
Three percent of American companies control over 90 percent of the market, she said, and restrictive regulations backed by lobbying prohibit the sale of foreign formulas.
“Name another industry/sector/product like this,” Ruhle said.
“TRY BREASTFEEEDING!” Midler responded. “It’s free and available on demand.”
The formula shortage, which began in 2020, has worsened significantly in recent weeks because of labor shortages and product recalls. Retail analysis firm Datasembly reported that 43 percent of formulas were out of stock last week. Abbot Nutrition, the company behind the recall, said the delay could last eight to 10 weeks.
Breastfeeding and breast milk aren’t options for many new parents.
“Pretty heartless and horrible thing to say to women who are unable to breastfeed, Bette,” one Twitter user responded. “It’s far more common than you realize … delete this.”