31 Jul 2012 03:26 PM EST
-by Trista McKenzie, Contributing Writer; Image: Latch On NYC Poster (Image Source: NYC.gov)
Mayor Michael Bloomberg says excessive sugary soda is bad for you—but is baby formula bad for your newborn child?
In a brand new health-related plan, New York City’s mayor is trying to get hospitals to lock up baby formula in order to convince new mothers to breast feed, CBS 2 reported on Monday.
The aptly-titled “Latch On NYC” is a citywide initiative beginning in September that is meant to limit the use of baby formula, requiring nurses to lock it away out of sight and discuss the benefits of breastfeeding with new mothers before signing out the formula at the mother’s request.
“Most of the public health officials around the country think that this is a great idea. I gather that the immunities that a mother has built up get passed along to the child so the child is healthier,” Bloomberg explained, according to CBS.
According to CNN, two thirds of the city’s hospitals have already agreed to this “voluntary initiative,” which also means they agree to not hand out formula company-sponsored “swag bags” to new mothers, which include formula samples and other baby-related items with brand logos imprinted on them.
“We’re not making anybody do it,” he explained. “We’re suggesting.”
Still, this new controversy has helped solidify belief in what some people are calling Bloomberg’s “nanny state.” He has already proven that he is against trans fats, excess salt and excess sugars. The breast milk issue pushes his health advocacy one step further—and many believe he has finally crossed a line.
“It probably goes without saying that I am an avid supporter of breast-feeding,” wrote blogger Jenn Savedge on Mother Nature Network. “But even I think that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's new initiative to lock up baby formula and lecture new new mothers who ask to use it is going a bit too far.”
Savedge explained that she takes issue with the setup of the initiative, explaining that it may make “new mothers who choose to use baby formula feel guilty or inferior for their decisions.”
“I’m particularly concerned about the latest addendum to the Latch On NYC initiative which will require that participating hospitals keep tabs on the number of formula bottles stocked and used, keeping formula locked up with other medications, and ‘counseling’ new mothers who ask to use it,” she explained.
“I kind of find it hard to believe that he can do that,” Upper West Side resident Elizabeth Passarella told CBS. “I don’t think it should be something legislated by the government. Obviously, mothers should have that choice... No, I don’t think that the nurses should have to document a medical reason to give a baby a bottle.”
Under “Latch On,” nurses are required to write up a medical form describing the reason why the mother is choosing not to breastfeed. Mothers who want the formula will receive it, but nurses must first deliver a lecture to explain why breast milk is better.
“Latch On NYC” officially goes into effect September 3.
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