Tan France and his husband, Rob, had a baby via surrogate this July, a son they named Ismail. They made the decision to formula feed as their surrogate could not pump and they decided not to use donated or purchased breastmilk. I imagine it’s harder to get safe milk during the pandemic too, especially because you have to consider the donor’s vaccination status. Tan is a spokesperson for an organic baby formula company called Bobbie. Bobbie posted a video in August of Tan discussing his choice to use a surrogate and feed his baby formula. He said that both he and Rob were formula babies, that their surrogate wasn’t able to pump and that fed is best, essentially. In response he got hate mail for that. Of course he did. Tan was on a Parents Magazine podcast where he said he got 17,000 DMs following that post. Here’s more, via People:
Speaking on Parents magazine’s We Are Family podcast, France said he received 17,000 DMs after making that post, many hateful comments from some people who misunderstood his message. He recalled that “almost every one was filled with such venom.”
“Our surrogate wasn’t able to pump for us, and we didn’t want to use donor milk. We did a lot of research into donor milk, and for us it just wasn’t right for us,” explained France. “Obviously I’m in a very interesting position where when we say that we’re having a baby, a lot of people have an opinion on how we’re having a baby and how we will feed our baby.”
“I want to make it clear to everyone listening: I 100 percent believe that breastmilk is the gold standard, so does Bobbie. We all understand that. If I could breastfeed my child, 100 percent I would,” he said. “I can’t. Therefore, I need to not be shamed for that.”
“I think they were misunderstanding what I was trying to say with my participation with this campaign,” [France] continued. “I wasn’t saying we don’t need to support the moms who are wanting to breastfeed — of course they should be given every support they need. We also need to not shame the people who cannot breastfeed their child or give their child breastmilk and have to formula feed, or just choose to formula feed.”
France, who said the hate is sometimes “expected” given what he’s used to encountering on social media, said there was also a positive side of the post.
“There was absolutely a lot of hate. It didn’t bother me, because there was also so much love between women, between moms on these comments… One of them would say, ‘I felt such guilt. I struggled with this for so many years.’ And other women would comment such beautiful support,” he said.
Hopefully Tan closed his DMs after that. (It looks like he did because there’s no “message” button when I view his profile.) I don’t understand how people can hate on anyone for feeding their baby formula, particularly when neither parent can nurse. Regardless it’s a personal choice as to what’s best for the family and baby and it’s none of our f’ing business how people feed their babies. Do the nursing “advocates” sending mean messages want babies to starve? This is just absolutely ridiculous. The mommy/parent shaming is out of control.
Anyway I love Tan, his Masterclass on fashion really helped me, and I’m so happy for him and his husband. It sounds like their little family is doing wonderfully too.