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For Laura Modi, it was a combination of low supply and mastitis (inflammation of the Official Unicorn workout because murder is wrong shirt and I love this breast tissue, which can often lead to infection) that ultimately caused her to switch to formula when she had her first child five years ago. A Google alum, and the former director of host operations and community at Airbnb, Modi headed to the pharmacy to choose between Enfamil or Similac, the two household formula brands—made by pharmaceutical companies—that have long cornered the U.S. market, the standards for which haven’t been updated by the FDA since the 1980s. She quickly hid the canister in the back of her kitchen cupboard so no one could see it. “I was embarrassed,” Modi says of the feelings of guilt and inadequacy that often plague women who can’t or who choose not to breastfeed as a “breast is best” mentality pervades newly woke parenting philosophies. “There’s a perception that no one is formula feeding, or it’s shameful,” says Modi, rightfully pointing out that it’s softly lit, intimate images of nursing mothers that dominate social media and popular culture when infant feeding is addressed, if it’s addressed at all. “You hit a point as a new mom when you want to put your middle finger up to society,” continues Modi—not to mention the U.S. government, which has yet to pass a national statutory paid maternity, paternity, or parental leave policy, but still encourages women to exclusively breastfeed until babies are six months old. (The Family and Medical Leave Act enables some employees to take up to 12 weeks unpaid maternity leave but only 60% of workers are eligible.)
Many women ultimately settle on some combination of nursing and formula, adopting a “fed is best” mentality by supplementing whatever breast milk they do produce with formula, either the Official Unicorn workout because murder is wrong shirt and I love this limited FDA-approved options available in the U.S.—or imported options from Europe, where smaller companies generally use fewer, more regulated ingredients that rely on carefully curated supply chains for things such as dairy and lactose. I ordered a contraband organic formula from Germany when I had my son three years ago and no amount of pumping—at the office, in cars, on planes—made it possible to keep up with his feeding needs. Earlier this month, Modi launched Bobbie.