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Bette Midler is blasted for wading into baby formula shortage by tweeting ‘TRY BREASTFEEDING!’

Bette Midler sparked outrage Friday by responding to nationwide baby formula shortages with the message: ‘TRY BREASTFEEDING! It’s free and available on demand.’

The tweet sent by Midler, 76, was immediately met with a wall of criticism from figures as diverse as Stephen Miller, Donald Trump’s hardline speechwriter, and John Oliver’s executive producer.

In response to Midler’s tweet, many pointed out that a significant percentage of women are unable to breastfeed, despite their best attempts: one lactation consultant and author, Diana Cassar-Uhl, put the figure at between 12 and 15 percent of all mothers.

Others pointed out that some babies have specific dietary conditions and do not respond well to breast milk.

Still others pointed out that tens of thousands of babies are adopted and others are born through surrogates.

And gay men, who make up a large part of Midler’s fan base, were also angered by Midler’s comment, which highlighted that a gay male couple would not be able to breastfeed their baby or toddler.

Tim Carvell, the executive producer of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, tweeted: “Imagine having a large gay fan base, many of whom are raising children in two-parent households, and thinking this is a good suggestion.”

Miller, Trump’s staunchly loyal aide, tweeted in response to Midler: ‘What a deeply offensive and ignorant statement.

‘There are countless reasons why breastfeeding is not an option for many mothers, too many to explain here. And if you’ve been using formula, you can’t just flip a switch. Not to mention the millions of babies with food/milk allergies…’

Bette Midler, 76, is seen in December at the Kennedy Center Honors.  On Friday she sparked anger by saying that baby formula shortages could be avoided if women breastfed their babies, as many pointed out that it was not a simple solution.

Bette Midler, 76, is seen in December at the Kennedy Center Honors. On Friday she sparked anger by saying that baby formula shortages could be avoided if women breastfed their babies, as many pointed out that it was not a simple solution.

1652490719 60 Bette Midler is blasted for wading into baby formula shortage

Ilyse Hogue, president of the progressive social change campaign Purpose, tweeted: “Bette, respectfully, this is a very bad take. I had twins. I didn’t make enough milk for both of us. Without formula, he would have had to choose which one to eat. Not to mention the children who are separated from birth mothers very young.

One replied: ‘I love you Bette, but this is not right. I struggled to breastfeed my son, he kept losing weight, despite my best efforts, including the lactation experts.

“It was emotional and heartbreaking. I felt like a failure and at 3 months I switched to formula because of the stress it put on me and my son.”

Another joked: ‘No big deal, Bette says just get a wet nurse! (Never mind, they charge over $1000 a week and that’s something working families can’t afford, especially at a time when EVERYTHING costs more.)

1652490721 612 Bette Midler is blasted for wading into baby formula shortage

1652490722 138 Bette Midler is blasted for wading into baby formula shortage

1652490723 710 Bette Midler is blasted for wading into baby formula shortage

1652490725 682 Bette Midler is blasted for wading into baby formula shortage

Nationwide, baby formula supplies are at 43 percent, with some states like Tennessee, Delaware and Texas reporting their “stock out level” as high as 54 percent.

The problem was sparked by the closure in February of one of the largest producers of baby formula in the United States, in Michigan, after the facility was found to be contaminated and two babies died after consuming the products, although the factory insists that the bacteria in his factory did not contribute to the deaths of the infants.

The shutdown exacerbated shortages and supply chain problems already caused by the pandemic. And he highlighted the strong monopoly of baby formula, with 98 percent produced within the United States, and three companies controlling more than 90 percent of the supply.

Many products from Europe cannot be imported, even though they are produced to a higher standard for many ingredients, because they do not have the required FDA labeling on the packaging.

1652490726 61 Bette Midler is blasted for wading into baby formula shortage

1652490727 20 Bette Midler is blasted for wading into baby formula shortage

Shelves are shown empty of baby formula in New York City on Friday

Shelves are shown empty of baby formula in New York City on Friday

Midler, however, doubled down.

“People are piling on because of a previous tweet,” he said.

‘It’s not a shame if you can’t breastfeed, but if you can and are somehow convinced that your own milk isn’t as good as a ‘scientifically researched product’, that’s another thing.

‘The monopoly news is new to me, although it is not a lie. #nurses’

He also said he was confident that President Joe Biden would find a solution.

1652490729 661 Bette Midler is blasted for wading into baby formula shortage

1652490730 908 Bette Midler is blasted for wading into baby formula shortage

Elise Stefanik, the chairwoman of the Republican House conference, tweeted that Biden “HAS NO PLAN.”

In response, Midler later retweeted a comment from podcast host Brian Tyler Cohen.

“Apart from the fact that you want to starve babies and accuse anyone who disagrees with you of being a pedophile, Joe Biden actually DOES have a plan,” Cohen said.

It’s right here. You are lying.’

He attached a link to the White House fact sheet from Thursday, detailing the steps they were taking to get the problem under control.

Biden lashed out at critics on Friday as he defended his administration’s actions to ease an infant formula shortage that has terrified parents concerned about feeding their babies.

“If we had been better at reading minds, I guess we could have,” Biden said when asked if his administration should have acted sooner.

Biden was speaking at an event on community policing and said he would only speak on that topic before, somewhat sullenly, agreeing to talk about formula shortages.

“I’ll answer the question baby because suddenly it’s on the front page of every newspaper,” he said.

The president predicted that it would only be “a matter of weeks or less” before more formula would be on the shelves.

“We’re going to be in a matter of weeks, or less, significantly getting to where there’s more formula on the shelves,” he said.

Biden said his administration was hard at work on the matter and had “nothing more urgent” on the plate.

‘This is a process that we work very, very hard on. There is nothing more urgent that we are working on right now. And I think we’re really making significant progress,” he said.

His comments came after the Food and Drug Administration said the baby formula shortage should improve dramatically within weeks.

Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf said the agency will announce plans next week detailing how overseas manufacturers and suppliers will be able to import their products into the United States, as well as new options for American businesses.

The FDA is aiming for a streamlined process that will put more products on US shelves while meeting safety, quality and labeling standards, he said.

The $4 billion US baby formula market is dominated by domestic producers, with imports limited and subject to high tariffs.

“We believe these and other ongoing efforts will help dramatically improve supply in the US in a matter of weeks,” Califf wrote on Twitter.

“Our data indicates that stock rates at retail stores are leveling off, but we continue to work day and night to further increase availability.”

President Joe Biden lashed out at critics as he defended his administration's actions to ease the infant formula shortage.

President Joe Biden lashed out at critics as he defended his administration’s actions to ease the infant formula shortage.

Meanwhile, the House Oversight Committee is launching an investigation into the baby formula shortage and demanding records and information from four of the largest manufacturers.

“The national formula shortage poses a threat to the health and economic security of infants and families in communities across the country, particularly those with lower incomes who have historically experienced health disparities, including food insecurity.” Democratic Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney of New York wrote in letters to Abbott Nutrition, Mead Johnson Nutrition, Nestlé USA and Perrigo, first obtained by ABC News.

The Oversight committee is the investigative arm of Congress and has broad authority to investigate a variety of issues.

The panel is investigating the rising prices of infant formula and the steps companies are taking to address the shortage.

In addition, Maloney specifically asked Chris Calamari, president of Abbott Nutrition, for information about the recall of its formula after several babies were hospitalized and two died from a rare bacterial infection in some of its products.

Maloney wants answers to his questions, along with a briefing from the companies, before May 26.

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