Target Is Labeling Breastfeeding Supplies as 'Natural Feeding' & People Are Getting Heated

target makes natural feeding sign
Breastfeeding Mama Talk/Facebook

The topics of breastfeeding and formula feeding can be incredibly sensitive ones to broach. It feels like there's always judgment coming in from both sides. With phrases like "breast is best" floating around that make formula-feeding moms feel guilty, and the pressure breastfeeding moms are under to do things "perfectly," it's no wonder things are tense. Unfortunately, there's no end in sight for this debate, and it seems Target has exacerbated this tension by labeling its breastfeeding supply aisle as "natural feeding." This choice of words is leaving many moms angry and offended. 

  • A post on the popular Facebook page Breastfeeding Mama Talk called out how Target labeled its breastfeeding aisle.

    Along with the photo of the Target aisle filled with breastfeeding supplies, the Facebook post included an interesting question: "How do you guys feel about how Target is labeling their aisle for breastfeeding supplies?" 

    Although the Facebook page's administrator didn't say whether she took the picture herself or not, she did share that Target's labeling was already causing some controversy in the parenting community. "The interesting part is there are people right now arguing that we need to stop referring to breastfeeding as natural because it implies that formula is unnatural, which I mean is true," she wrote. "Formula is a man-made alternative why can we not call it as it is?" 

    The mom said that usage of the word "natural" isn't supposed to be alienating to moms who use formula. "Insinuating that when we refer to breastfeeding as natural or normal that we're only doing so to make those who formula feed feel like outcasts which is not true," she wrote. Then she asks the page's followers whether or not the sign implied that formula feeding is "abnormal" in their opinion, or if Target should have simply referred to it as the breastfeeding section. And finally, she also wanted to know what others thought about people dictating what words others "should" use to talk about breastfeeding. 

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  • Unsurprisingly, moms joined the conversation in droves, and many found the sign incredibly offensive. 

    target breastfeeding sign facebook comment

    A lot of them felt like Target made a huge misstep by using the word "natural" because they think it has become another word for "right" or "better" in the parenting community. 

  • Some think that the new labeling on the signs will be discouraging for moms who are struggling with feeling guilty for formula feeding. 

    target breastfeeding sign facebook comment

    "From my personal experience I know that I felt a lot of guilt and embarrassment when I bottle fed and I was sure people would be judging me," one mom commented. 

    "From someone who wasn't able to breastfeed as long as I would have liked and felt like a failure when I had to supplement, or went to exclusively pumping with my first and then dried out, it may have made me feel a little sad to see this," said another. 

  • Others were less angry about the implication of the word "natural," and more about the lack of the word "breast." 

    target breastfeeding sign facebook comment

    "Why not just label this section 'breastfeeding'? Is the term breast too controversial?" another user commented.

  • But tons of other moms didn't find anything wrong with the label, though. 

    target breastfeeding sign facebook comment

    They argued that the term "natural" adequately describes breastfeeding since it happens biologically. "Breastfeeding is natural by definition 'existing or caused by nature.' So, therefore, labeling the aisle related to breastfeeding 'natural feeding' is just stating a fact," one mom argued.

  • Others agree that Target isn't implying that formula-feeding is the "wrong" by using the word "natural."

    target breastfeeding sign facebook comment

    "I don't see anything wrong with it," one mom commented. "Breastfeeding is natural and we need different things to do so compared to formula feeding." 

    "Calling it natural doesn't mean formula feeding is bad, it just means that our bodies didn't create it," wrote another.

  • Plenty feel like the people who are offended by Target's labeling are just misplacing their mom guilt. 

    target breastfeeding sign facebook comment

    We aren't exactly sure what the folks at Target were going for here. Maybe they were hesitant to use the word "breast" or maybe they just failed to think about the implications of their words. Either way it's important to be considerate of both sides. For those of us who may not see anything wrong with the usage of the word "natural," remember to be sympathetic to those who do -- and vice versa. Whether we breastfeed or formula feed, all moms face a ton of criticism about our decision. The last thing we need is to stop supporting each other because of a Target sign.