New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg really going gangbusters with his health initiatives in Big Apple, but this time instead of banning big soda, he’s touting a new voluntary breastfeeding program called Latch On NYC. To encourage new moms to start down the path to breast-feeding, the mayor’s initiative will have baby formula at hospitals locked up.
Just because the formula is being squirreled away at hospitals doesn’t mean moms can’t insist on giving their babies a bottle, but nurses will have to sign out the formula as of Sept. 3, reports the Associated Press. The stuff is always kept on hand in case fussy babies don’t want to latch on or new mothers decide not to breastfeed.
Usually moms are sent home with gift bags filled with giveaways of infant formula and other free stuff branded with company logos, but already 27 of NYC’s 40 hospitals have reportedly said they’ll ditch the goodie bags. As we previously reported, it’s not just Bloomberg who’s against the bags — in April, Public Citizen sent off 2,600 letters to hospitals nationwide to protest the practice.
The program is also underway in various iterations in other states, including a similar initiative in Massachusetts. Health officials there say they’ll get rid of the infant goodie bags at the state’s 49 hospitals as well at the end of this month (so, now!) to promote breast-feeding.
While some might call this latest move just another one of Bloomberg’s attempts to move the city toward a “nanny state,” the National Alliance for Breast-feeding Advocacy says the program is just fantastic. The Alliance’s stance is that restricting access to baby formula in the same way medications are locked up will stop staffers from heading straight to the bottle instead of trying to help new mothers get into the swing of nursing.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has long pushed the health benefits of breastfeeding, saying that moms who stick to that method for the six months of a baby’s life will help their child’s ability to fight many illnesses and allergies.
Mayor Bloomberg’s infant formula plan aimed at promoting breast-feeding in NYC hospitals [CBS/Associated Press]