A mom was told that a store didn't stock infant formula because the demand was low, and also, by the way, babies should be breastfed. What?
Photo credit: FamVeld/ iStock/360/ Getty Images

An Australian mom was disappointed that her favorite store no longer carried the infant formula she used, and when she questioned the staff, they didn't know what was going on. After contacting the head office, she finally got a response — there isn't enough of a demand, and babies should be breastfed anyway. The store, called Woolworth's, has apologized, but how crazy is it that one person's opinion should be stated in such an official capacity?

Formula not in stock

Reannon Spencer is a mom of three and was disappointed to find that the newborn formula she wanted wasn't in stock on her local Woolworth's store shelves. The store manager wasn't sure why, so she decided to contact the company's head office. When her phone call was returned, she was told that the demand for that particular formula was low. And he also mentioned that newborn babies should be breastfed anyway.

Spencer was upset and the power of social media propelled her story, as the complaint she wrote on the retail store's Facebook page has gone viral. She has received an apology from the company who says that the individual person she spoke with didn't represent the store as a whole, but it brings up yet another aspect of motherhood that you don't hear much about — discrimination against formula-feeding moms.

The feeding debate

You hear about (and I often write about) breastfeeding discrimination on an unfortunately regular basis. Breastfeeding moms are wrongly told to stop nursing their babies, cover up or even asked to leave by poorly-trained employees. Lawsuits have been brought against those who have discriminated against some women… and won. Women are chastised for breastfeeding their babies longer than a year, and are accused of "whipping it out," "seeking attention" and even child abuse if they nurse in public.

Infant feeding discrimination, however, is not a one-way street. For example, formula-feeding moms have reported that they are shunned or questioned if they take out a bottle to feed their baby at a playgroup, or they're quizzed by family members and friends about their choice. Just as breastfeeding moms experience, people think they can say whatever they want about how a mom feeds her baby. And ridiculously offensive situations, like what Spencer experienced, also take place, and we're all expected to just accept it.

I am a mom, who is making choices for her kids,
and these are the best choices I can make.

Respect parenting choices

No matter how we feel about it, we must respect the parenting choices of others. I am a breastfeeding advocate, for example, and stories of breastfeeding harassment and discrimination hurt my heart even though I've never personally experienced it. But above all, I am a mom, who is making choices for her kids, and these are the best choices I can make. This story bothers me too, even though I don't formula feed. Reading about someone pushing their own agenda as a retail official is infuriating. It's the wrong message to send, and I hope this chap is reprimanded at a minimum. Surely we've come far enough, as humans, to treat each other as such.

More on feeding babies

Banning the bottle, and not the one that you think
The predatory practices of formula companies
Making the decision to breastfeed