A Story that Will Make You Fall in Love with Baby Formula?

Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
A Story that Will Make You Fall in Love with Baby Formula?
Mon, 09-10-2012 - 4:54pm

So, does this story really make you fall in love with baby formula - or just glad that someone cares that some babies are getting fed??


A Story that Will Make You Fall in Love with Baby Formula — No Matter How You Felt About it Before

If you’re a middle or upper middle class woman who is also a new-ish mom, chances are you’ve heard rumblings about how baby formula is about as evil as the devil. Breast is best! Breast is best! Breast is best!

But out there in the (more) real world, there are plenty of women who don’t have the luxury of time and money to worry about whether they’re able to nurse in public or breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of life because they’re struggling just to buy diapers and scrounging for money to simply feed their infants at all. Worrying about whether your boss will let you pump at work somewhere other than a closet, or a restaurant will relegate you to a restroom to nurse are things that never, ever cross the minds of plenty of new moms.

For some of those moms in the Chicago area, baby formula has been a blessing bestowed upon them for the past 30 years by a group of charitable women dubbed the “milk ladies,” marking one of those rare occasions when there is no shame associated with baby formula, at least as it relates to those in the throes of the breast vs. formula debate.

A group of eight women who have been friends for years started dropping off cases of brand-name baby formula to women in need ages ago, although now they are joined in their efforts by their own daughters and other relatives, according to Jezebel (via the LA Times).

They’ve raised $2.6 million through donations and grants in an effort to try and eradicate poverty and child hunger. While the group is officially known as INFANT (Infants Need to Find Adequate Nourishment Today) Inc., they were dubbed the “milk ladies” by child welfare agencies.

“I have eight [children] of my own. There’s nothing worse than to see a child hungry,” co-founder Barb Isaacson, 80, said to the LA Times. “We decided to do something about it in our own little way.”

In addition to formula, they provide more than 60 organizations with hand-woven blankets, infant clothing and diapers, as well as “small gifts” for the mothers — all for families in need.

It started in 1982 when one of the group’s founders heard on the news that women were diluting baby formula with sugar and water. After making their first donation a few weeks later, they learned the wide scope of the problem, such as lack of breast milk due to malnourishment or drug addiction, and waiting for welfare eligibility to kick in — all while babies suffered.

The milk ladies plan to keep on doing what they’re doing “until the money runs out and people stop helping.”

Regardless of your position on breast milk vs. formula, it’s hard not to see what these women are doing as just about the kindest work that can be done, which is helping babies who are hungry, to eat. We can debate all the livelong day about whether breast is best, but in the end, just eating at all is really what’s best, and for making that happen, these women are nothing short of angels.

Source: http://blogs.babble.com/strollerderby/2012/09/10/a-story-that-will-make-you-fall-in-love-with-baby-formula-no-matter-how-you-felt-about-it-before/

Avatar for pterodactyl
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-18-2003
The article mentions women who cannot breastfeed due to malnutrition and drug use, but sort of sounds like they are a subset. I cannot really tell for sure.

Obviously formula should be available for babies who would starve without it. Obviously no one has ever said otherwise, although this article does try to imply that if you are in favor of feeding starving babies, you must be against pro-bf propaganda. You have to choose one or the other.

But... I wonder if some of the women served by the milk ladies are capable of breastfeeding, and use formula because that is the norm in their community. We know that this does happen in poor communities. Would it not be far better to provide breastfeeding information that would help them to feed their own babies without having to depend on a finite supply of largess? Not to mention, would it not be better for babies already at risk from environmental factors to have the heealth benefits of breastfeeding?

No, because that would be lactivism and naziism and how dare you impose your middle class values on us!!!!!!
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
No, it does not make me fall in love with baby formula. I have always accepted their is a genuine need in some case for formula but I believe that the percentage who truly need it is smaller then many people think. So I don't hate baby formula outright though I have serious issues with the way it has been turned into sometimes to be used by choice rather then just by medical need as was it;s original purpose. Assuming these the recipient mothers have a true need for formula rather then simply a personal preference then I have no issue with what these people are doing. Now if they simply choose to FF based solely on preference or myths and misinformation about breastfeeding then I think it would be better to at least try and educate said mothers about BF'ing and them only if they still refuse to try breastfeeding then you could provide them with free formula so they don't end up trying feed either diluted formula or some other less then suitable alternative. As much as i wish they would BF whenever possible, I do realize that some people are so against the idea of BF'ing they will dilute formula or feed unsuitable alternatives. Some communities in the USA, such as inner city African-American community have strong a strong anti-BF culture. Pragmatism is in order sometimes for BF advocates in cases like this IMO as much I wish it wasn't.