So many parenting debates can get moms fired up: epidural vs. natural, vaccines, homeschooling, organic foods … the list goes on (and on). But really, isn’t our all-time favorite argument the breastfeeding vs. formula debate? I mean, what else fuels a good old-fashioned Internet mom battle at lightning speeds like this one?
Such was the premise behind a recent episode of the hilarious new TruTV show, Adam Ruins Everything — which tackled the issue with both information and humor. (Which is really the best way to take on a debate with a bunch of sanctimommies.)
In the show’s Season 2 premiere, we meet series regular and new mom Emily as she’s being lectured by two different women on how and where she should feed her child. While one demands she go breastfeed her baby somewhere else because “no one wants to see that,” the other admonishes her for considering feeding her baby “chemicals” and “poison” found in formula.
Because as usual, moms can’t win.
The show is known for tackling controversial topics with a humorous style of truth-telling — past episodes have covered issues like calorie counting, having kids after 35, and extreme dieting. So the breast vs. bottle debate was probably the logical next step. And let me tell you, it was done so well. As a former breastfeeding mom myself, who absolutely accepts formula as a safe and acceptable way to feed a baby, I loved the way it dished hard cold facts while also throwing some necessary shade at the judgmental moms out there.
The episode employs more than a few absurd lines when getting at the criticisms moms face — like “formula has autism in it!” and “formula is toxic.” But my favorite quotes come from an outspoken character by the name of Aunt Patty, who bluntly tells one mom, “You’re going to tell a mother where and when to feed her baby? Get a life!” before looking at another and saying: “And you! How dare you judge how another mom feeds her kid? Formula isn’t just healthy and safe. It’s a literal lifesaver.”
Yessssssss! Preach, Aunt Patty!
Emily is then taken over to a child’s playhouse, where Aunt Patty serves up some pretty sobering facts. For one, formula wasn’t even invented until 1865 — prior to that, the ONLY way to feed a baby was via breastfeeding. But since breastfeeding wasn’t always possible, many babies were either severely malnourished or died as a result.
Aunt Patty also sheds light on how time-consuming breastfeeding really is — 35 hours per week! (NBD though; it’s not like Mom has anything else to do, right?) And considering 15 percent of new moms today are either unable to breastfeed or choose not to for various reasons, it’s a damn good thing we aren’t all living in the 1800s.
But above all, Aunt Patty has this message to share with Emily: “Formula isn’t scary. It’s a modern miracle.” And when Emily asks, “Isn’t formula just a bunch of chemicals?” Aunt Patty is quick to remind her of something we rarely talk about: Yes, formula has chemicals in it — but so does breastmilk.
It’s at this point that a professor and lactation expert named Courtney Young suddenly pops out of a formula can to explain that formula is a safe and nutritionally complete alternative to breastmilk. “If you need or want to feed your baby formula, you can do so with confidence,” she proclaims.
Of course, the anti-formula mom quickly pipes up at this one, noting that she “reads Mommy blogs, like for fun” and has read that “breastfeeding makes your baby love you more because it releases a bonding chemical called oxytocin.” Aunt Patty doesn’t deny this one, agreeing that breastfeeding does release oxytocin, just like snuggling and cuddling. But then again, so does shooting a gun and watching porn. (How ’bout THAT truth bomb?)
“Breastfeeding is a great way to bond with your baby,” says Aunt Patty. “But it’s not the only way.”
The thing this clip really nails so well is that no matter what, don’t let anyone tell you how or where or when to feed your baby. And if anyone gives you grief, call Aunt Patty. (She’s not available for Thanksgiving this year, though. She’s already been invited to my house.)