NYC’s Mayor Bloomberg Locking Up Baby Formula At Hospitals To Encourage Breastfeeding

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]



Edit Your Comment

  1. eccsame says:

    Thank goodness. There’s so much scientific evidence out there that tells us that the government always knows what’s best for us. It’s asinine to argue in the face of it.

    • 6T9 says:

      Sarcasm aside; the government needs to help us. We cannot go on with our own thoughts and actions. Yay government. Oh wait, I used sarcasm, my bad.

    • mikedt says:

      There’s an awful lot of evidence that proves breast milk is better for babies than formula. Making it a tad harder to get hooked on formula is a good thing. I know that shortly after my wife started hitting baby sites the coupons and formula samples started showing up in our mail box. Those companies know what their doing – especially since formula is more expensive than top shelf booze.

      Bottom line, people should be happy the government is pushing breast feeding over formula. They’ll save a thousand plus dollars during their baby’s liquid feeding period.

      • Torgonius wants an edit button says:

        I don’t think government has a place pushing anything, but I don’t mind PSAs and other passive type things if that’s how they want to spend their money.

        Nanny Bloomberg has no business getting involved in this at any deeper level, though. That choice should strictly be between the parents and the medical professional.

      • shepd says:

        If the government isn’t prepared to make it easier to have the man working and the woman at home feeding the children, then they shouldn’t be surprised that women want to use formula.

        Not that I’m saying one is better than the other, but pumping is an incredible pain in the arse (my wife had to do it because the baby wouldn’t latch despite her being a stay at home mom, we went through two machines and I heard nothing but complaining from her about that stupid machine for 4 months until baby figured it out) and it would suck for the government to try to enforce the 1950s again.

        So, look at baby formula like condoms. They might have their problems (the church hates condoms, and hey, they’re definitely not the “real thing”, and it’s only almost as good as mother’s milk) but they do offer benefits (fewer babies and when you do have them, hey, at least you can still work and not be inconvenienced).

  2. Coffee says:


    • Costner says:


  3. Costner says:

    As much as I like the idea of breastfeeding, it is a personal choice and the government (Mr. Bloomberg included) has no right to tell mothers what they should be doing on matters such as these.

    So yea… this idea really sucks (pun intended).

    • qwickone says:

      The government has a responsibility to encourage people to act in their own best interest. That’s part of how a society works. And no one is taking away options, the government is just discouraging the use of other options until their preferred method is no longer an option. This is exactly what a government is supposed to do… This is clearly the best option for feeding a baby for many reasons (health, cost, bonding, etc.), and there are options right there at the hospital if the breastfeeding option is not for you. Why does this suck exactly?

      • jbandsma says:

        Because there are those who WOULD deny a mother the option not to breastfeed. Including the nurse who would have to unlock the cabinet and prepare the formula. No, not all would do this but there are enough to have a concern about mandating which method should be used.

      • Yeti Poacher says:

        I agree with your statements but I don’t like it. It’s irritating when the choice you want to make is made more difficult by people who think they know what’s best.

      • Costner says:

        It sucks because even if a new mother knows up front that they won’t be able to breastfeed due to a need to take prescription medications or because of some other medical reason, they will still need to have a nurse obtain formula by signing it out and obtaining it from a locked cabinet.

        So they are treating it like a prescription medication – every time they need a “dosage” the nurse has to sign it out. Meanwhile baby is hungry and screaming bloody murder because there is no formula available.

        What if the nurse is busy or they are short staffed or they can’t find the key for the cabinet because the nurse who worked the prior shift left it in her scrubs. Is the baby going to wait patiently for 15 or 20 minutes until they get more formula?

        What ever happened to just educating mothers and letting them know the health benefits rather than making it more difficult for them to choose option B over option A? This policy is in effect punishing women for using formula even if it isn’t simply a matter of choice.

        • jbandsma says:

          And then the mother who stays at home, breastfeeds and does all the other things deemed ‘best’ by the government, WILL be punished for having the audacity to go outside her home with her infant and decide to feed him/her.

          If breastfeeding is best, why are there so many laws disallowing it outside of private places like your home or a public restroom?

          • eldritch2k4 says:

            “And then the mother who stays at home, breastfeeds and does all the other things deemed ‘best’ by the government, WILL be punished for having the audacity to go outside her home with her infant and decide to feed him/her.

            If breastfeeding is best, why are there so many laws disallowing it outside of private places like your home or a public restroom?”

            Forty-five states, DC and the U.S. Virgin Islands have laws specifically allowing breastfeeding in any public or private place and 28 states, DC and the U.S. Virgin Islands explicitly exempt breastfeeding moms from indecent exposure laws. The one thing there is not are any laws specifically stating that breastfeeding moms must only feed in private areas or bathrooms.

            I can say from experience with my wife that at least one state that does not have any laws exempting breastfeeding moms (West Virginia) will just look the other way.

            Educate yourself:

        • alana0j says:

          It’s not even JUST medical reasons that make it terribly difficult/impossible to breastfeed. When I had my second child, my girls’ father was long gone. I try to maintain two jobs normally and I’m a full-time student. Breastfeeding would have worked for the first week after I had her..after that I was back in school. 5 weeks later I was back at work. Yes, I understand you can pump the milk for later but I just don’t think I physically could have handled it.

          That said, I am all for hospitals promoting breastfeeding since it’s best. But I feel like taking it to such extreme measures would make a woman who is unable to breastfeed feel guilty instead of focusing on helping her take the best care of herself and her baby that she can.

        • ggendusag says:

          Amen I can’t agree with you more

      • Psychicsword says:

        What makes you think that it is the government’s job to tell me what is in my best interest? My best interest isn’t the government’s responsibility what so ever outside of the protection from outside aggressors and the protection of my rights and freedom from 3rd parties.

        • cactus jack says:

          Wouldn’t be the first time they’ve done it. Look at what they did to tobacco. Been waiting to see who they tried to conquer next.

        • Asia says:


        • matlock expressway says:

          The government has a responsibility to protect me from freeloaders, though.

          You might think it’s an unimaginable infringement of your liberty to be told to wear a seat belt. I might respond that the point of that law isn’t to protect you, per se: it’s to protect the medical system (and other taxpayers in turn) from being sucked dry after you get into a car accident.

          The same goes for tobacco. The government doesn’t give a damn whether you get cancer or not. They give a damn whether they’ll have to pay through the nose for it.

          ‘Gimme gimme’ libertarians rarely seem to get this.

          Real libertarians, on the other hand, actually concern themselves with the rights of others in addition to their own.

      • Barry Bunch O'Krunch says:

        “The government has a responsibility to encourage people to act in their own best interest. That’s part of how a society works. And no one is taking away options, the government is just discouraging the use of other options until their preferred method is no longer an option.”

        In what universe is that a government’s responsibility? In some kind of satirical, totalitarian state, maybe.

        “This is exactly what a government is supposed to do…”

        That is a really scary way of thinking. It reeks of “We have always been at war with Eastasia.”

        Last I checked, this is exactly what our government is supposed to do: “form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” I guess if you consider playing petty mind games with and pushing a flavor-of-the-week political agenda onto citizens “promoting the general Welfare,” then yes, artificially impeding an individual’s choice is exactly what a government is supposed to do.

    • msbaskx2 says:

      I’m 100% pro-breastfeeding, but the simple fact is that some women don’t WANT to do it. You can spout facts, figures and benefits all you want, but it is their CHOICE to breastfeed or not and it seems incredibly short-sighted to make it harder to choose bottlefeeding if that’s what they want to do.

      Does anyone really think it’s a good idea to try to force a new mother to nurse a baby she doesn’t want to nurse? (And don’t kid yourself. This IS why they’re doing this.)

  4. fsnuffer says:

    The National Alliance for Breast-feeding Advocacy says the program is just fantastic but I have a feeling the people at the National Alliance for Bottle-feeding Advocacy may have an issue with this.

  5. dush says:

    As long as it’s voluntary and not some mandate.

  6. pythonspam says:

    Formula manufacturers know that if they can get mom’s to start the kid on formula that they will make thousands of dollars of revenue off that one child. Hence the goodie bags and free samples. Now, not all kids can be breastfed and not all mothers can breastfeed, but everyone agrees that the process is better for the child’s health and well being. Formula is just a gateway drug to more formula.

  7. Lethe says:

    This is ridiculous. I firmly believe that breast-feeding is better for the baby, the benefits are hardly worth not allowing women the choice (see I’m one of 6 siblings, and 3 of us were breast-fed. Now, as adults, I would dare anyone to look at the general health and intelligence of all of us and see if they can tell who bottle-fed.

    In addition, I have four friends/coworkers who had babies in the last few months. All of the resulting babies were breast-fed, but three of them weren’t getting enough nutrition for some reason and after a week or two of trying the mothers had to supplement with formula. If this was made more available from the start, maybe they wouldn’t have had that time where they had jaundiced, underweight babies.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Your personal results do not equal research or the statistical norm. One could argue that formula prevented those three smarter children from realizing their full potential. The argument is ludicrous, impossible to test for, and a waste of everyone’s time.

      But, so was yours.

      • Lethe says:

        Wow- you certainly feel strongly about this issue. Please keep in mind I agreed that breast-feeding did provide benefits. My point was that, outside of developing countries where it’s absolutely responsible for saving millions of lives, the benefits aren’t so extreme that women shouldn’t be given the choice of whether or not to breast-feed without being grilled about it. There are some babies that don’t nurse well, for various reasons. There are women who have little or no maternity leave. There are also women that may have their own reasons for wanting to try formula that they may not want to be made public. Should we monitor parents to make sure they don’t feed their toddlers juice or candy as well? Both are undoubtedly worse for the child than healthy snacks, but at some point the government has to step back and let the parents make choices.

        • CJ SIege says:

          The benefits aren’t extreme? A study in Pediatrics suggested that 900 lives and billions of dollars per annum would be saved if 90% of mothers breastfed their children for just six months. Breastfed babies are less likely to be obese and have a lower risk of diabetes and many cancers later in life. A 2001 USDA study found that over $3 billion per year would be saved if in-hospital and 6-month breastfeeding rates were increased to Surgeon General-recommended figures (75% and 50%).

          Just because the long term health effects of formula-feeding are difficult to attribute does not mean that there are not significant, or indeed extreme, benefits to breastfeeding.

  8. valthun says:

    The one sweet thing we got out of the gift bag was a changing pad. I mean we already had two, plus the changing table. But it’s become a permanent fixture downstairs for a quick change.

    The formula was nice because we had some feeding issues so we had a free package to try. Granted the baby still won’t take a bottle, so it was a free lesson.

  9. AtlantaCPA says:

    YAY! For those saying “the govt telling us what to do” they aren’t telling you to breastfeed, they’re just trying to make the ‘telling’ less one sided. You are bombarded with formula in the hospital and a lot of people figure it’s the best thing for their baby since the hospital pushes it so hard. He’s trying to make it more up to the parents.

    • DrRonIsIn says:

      I know that personal anecdotes do not equal fact, but I do have to say that we had a baby a month ago, and our experience was just the opposite. Every hospital staff member pushed breast feeding. Formula was a dirty word. Even all of the signage around the maternity ward was all about the importance of breast feeding and such.

      When we actually needed formula for our newborn it felt like it took an act of congress to get it. The nurse even told us that she was not allowed to suggest formula.

      Long story short, YMMV.

      • AzCatz07 says:

        My sister’s experience mirrors yours. She has six children (yes, she and her husband support them without government assistance), and she doesn’t want to breastfeed. It’s her choice. However, when she had the last two, she was all but berated for not wanting to breastfeed. We’re really going in the wrong direction in this country. Educate people and let them make their own decisions.

        • CJ SIege says:

          This one is not a great soap box for the “Freedom! Murrka!” crowd, because there are significant benefits to breastfeeding and significant negative effects to not doing so, and those most affected (the babies!) have zero say in the matter. Plus, it’s free.

    • RayanneGraff says:

      He’s trying to make it more up to the parents.

      Nooo, he’s trying to coerce new parents’ choices based on his own personal feelings.

    • MarcelineTheVampireQueen says:

      “and a lot of people figure it’s the best thing for their baby since the hospital pushes it so hard. ”
      Sorry that’s just idiotic. Everybody knows “breast is best” because it gets rammed down pregnant mother’s throats. I know women (myself included) who tried to breast feed but hated every second of it and as a result struggled with the guilt given us from the breast Nazis.

  10. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I can see locking it up anyway because it’s a high theft item. But really? Not every mom CAN breastfeed. Sometimes it just doesn’t work.

    • AtlantaCPA says:

      It’s still available, just not being pushed in your face as much as before.
      “mothers who insist on bottle-feeding will still be able to do so, but nurses would have to sign out the baby formula, which would always be on hand for mothers who have difficulty breast-feeding.”

      • MikeM_inMD says:

        There’s a world of difference between “not being pushed” and locking it up like it was a drug.

    • ti_ana says:

      From the article:
      “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.”

  11. The Brad says:

    I like how a 70 year old man who’s children are 33 and 29 knows what’s best for today’s new parents.

  12. The Beer Baron says:

    Balderdash! He’s not trying to institute a “nanny” state at all! The term you’re looking for, Consumerist, is “wet-nurse.” My word, what ARE they teaching them in schools these days?

  13. spl2181 says:

    So, a woman’s right to choose only applies to abortion? We don’t care what you do to the baby before birth, but after birth we’re going to regulate everything possible. It’s a good thing we, the government, know how best to raise your children and run your life. Sure, we could provide education and incentives, but we find it’s best to just remove all choice.

  14. Kuchen says:

    There is already a WHO/UNICEF program similar to this, it’s call the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative ( I’m all for more encouragement and support for new breastfeeding moms, but you have to do it the right way. It can’t be just deciding to lock up the formula one day. You have to educate the doctors and nurses, you have get more staff certified as lactation consultants, you have to have other procedures in place to keep babies with their moms in the hospital (like immediate skin-to-skin contact for babies born by c-section, not just babies born vaginally).

    • AtlantaCPA says:

      Great points. Whether the formula is locked up or not these things should be done.

    • msbaskx2 says:

      Education is absolutely key, but the time to educate a woman about the benefits of breastfeeding is NOT ten seconds after she’s given birth.

      There are way too many other things going on physically, psychologically, emotionally at that time for that to be the time to present the idea of breastfeeding.

  15. km9v says:

    Thanks goodness for DR. Bloomberg! LOL, like people need any more excuses not to live in NY.

  16. jbandsma says:

    As a mother who breastfed, all I have to say is that Bloomberg just passed the batshit crazy line. There are lots of reasons NOT to breastfeed. Unfortunately, one of the biggest is the economy. When you have to work you’re not going to find a boss who will be willing for you to bring the baby along or allow you time every 2-3 hours to pump. Medications that the mother must take can affect the infant through breastmilk. Some women just don’t produce milk in sufficient quantities.

    AND, some women just don’t want to breastfeed. Which is their right. Or at least it is if you live anywhere but NYC.

    • Ayla says:

      He’s not taking away anyone’s rights, he’s simply making the mom and nurse sign for the formula. One extra step. That’s it.

      • DrRonIsIn says:

        And if the mom and nurse had to sign before breast feeding was allowed, would that be okay?

      • RayanneGraff says:

        A completely unnecessary step that they shouldn’t have to go through to get food for their baby.

  17. PragmaticGuy says:

    My daughter had breast reduction when she was 18. Because of this, later on she was unable to breast feed my grandsons. Both of them are (4 & 6) are smart, intelligent and normal. And stop trying to put the people who make Similac, Enfamil and Isomil out of work.

    • CJ SIege says:

      That’s an obvious case of “breastfeeding is impossible”, but for most women that’s not the case. Also, trolololol – putting the formula manufacturers out of biz? Really?

  18. dullard says:

    The issue is not whether breast feeding or bottle feeding is best. The issue is who has the responsibility for the baby.

    Within certain rational guidelines (you can’t beat your baby, for example) responsibility for the baby lies, or at least should lie, with its parents. Government should only move in when the welfare of the child becomes an issue to the extent that the child is at risk. That certainly is not the case here. We seem to be getting further and further away from personal responsibility.

  19. pms says:

    I want to move to New York. With crime and UN-employment at 0%, all government corruption eliminated, I am glad to see he has time to worry about the size of sodas and baby formula. Hopefully who ever is elected next is able to keep up the non-blemished record bloomberg will leave office with.

    • cactus jack says:

      To be honest, it’s awesome to see him actually try to do something. While everyone loves to take a collective dump on politicians like Walker and Bloomberg, these people are actually doing more than walking in parades and simply trying to survive without upsetting anyone until election time.

      • Kuri says:

        The point is valid since apparently making sure someone is doing something the “right way” is more important than making sure someone isn’t shot because they wore the wrong color shirt in the wrong part of town.

  20. dreamsneverend says:

    Any of you ladies on here given birth in the past year in a hospital? Formula is one of the things that is shoved in your face along with many other solicitors when you give birth in the giant hospital machine these days. When a kid pops out half the time they are like a cheap restaurant rushing you to get the hell out and get the next body in. The first hours and days of life are critical to breast feeding, a kid may not latch on correctly if given a bottle of formula from the get go.

    While I think this is an overreaching move on his part, formula should be last ditch instead of the easy way out. We take so many short cuts in life now this is not one of them. We already dope ourselves up and take crap like pitocin to force kids out on our schedule, when will we step back and say “enough”?

    • sadie kate says:

      I gave birth ten months ago in a hospital and didn’t have this experience at all. Every nurse on the delivery floor and maternity ward was a certified lactation consultant. They all worked tirelessly with me to help my daughter latch, and didn’t pressure me to try formula even though it took her 12 hours to finally get a decent latch. Plus, even though I had a great delivery and my daughter was born perfectly healthy (if a little small), my doctor told my insurance company I needed to stay an extra day just so I could keep getting help with our tricky breast feeding relationship.

      I have no illusions; I think the hospital I went to was the exception, and not the rule. But I feel that providing the resources to educate the nursing staff about the benefits of breastfeeding and the time to spend with their patients is way more beneficial than the ridiculous band-aid fix of locking up the formula.

      And for the record, there are plenty of reasons to opt for pitocin other than to force the kid out on your schedule.

    • DrRonIsIn says:

      We actually had the exact opposite situation with the birth of our baby five weeks ago. Formula was a dirty word, breast feeding was presented as the only and best option. When we did need formula, it was a bit of an ordeal to get it.

    • Margie Star says:

      Formula actually helped my son to learn how to latch when I had him 2 years ago. The nurse showed me how to tape a tube of formula to my nipple that would drip into his mouth when he sucked, which taught him that was where food came from.

    • sprybuzzard says:

      I gave birth in April, in a pretty pro breastfeeding hospital and I got 4 containers of premade formula that were expired 2 weeks before, so either they sent close to expiring formula or no one wanted them. There were a bunch of formula coupons too. The formula came in a cooler that I now use to carry my pumped breastmilk (fits 4 small bottles with caps) so I can’t say I got nothing. I think if I had found the formula (and could use it) or had formula at home in that first week I might have given in and used it. My son woke every hour and nursed every 45 min to hour and a half, I was exhausted and in pain but I’m glad I persevered. Formula is way expensive, that was my mantra.

    • Sunflower Jones says:

      I had a friend who recently gave birth. She could not breastfeed because her baby did not latch on. This baby was not introduced to a bottle.

      There are many reasons women can’t or don’t breastfed. It’s not about the “easy way out.” It’s about what they choose to do. My sibs and I were bottle fed, and we came out just fine. This whole breastfeeding movement is getting out of hand when women start judging other women on THEIR CHOICES.

    • missminimonster says:

      Yes, and it’s a long story. I had to have an emergency c-section in December after planning to go to a birthing center. My health insurance would not cover maternity expenses unless and emergency arose so that’s why I chose a birthing center/midwife.

      I had the biggest problem breastfeeding. I have a hormonal disorder and I think that on top of the emergency c-section didn’t help a thing. They did keep trying to shove formula at us, saying that my son wasn’t getting enough and was jaundiced. I’m sure that didn’t help things, either. I struggled on for three more months, lucky if I was able to pump four ounces a day. Finally I just gave up.

      It also didn’t help that the midwives were so pro-breastfeeding that one of them kept insisting that it was impossible that I was having trouble and I just wasn’t trying hard enough. Being extreme on either side is harmful and both the midwives and the hospital should have had more respect for whichever feeding decision had to be made.

    • RayanneGraff says:

      …Because your hospital experience is obviously the norm everywhere. Typical sanctimommy BS. Medicine makes us sicker, nature knows what its doing, and hospitals are evil & treat pregnancy like a disease, right?

  21. yellow rose of T says:

    There should be no discussion …it is the woman’s choice! As an RN, patients are educated to the does and don’t’s …it is there choice~ There are many reasons women choose not to breast feed…and it is none of our business..their choice! This is about Freedoms again people. Keep government out of our business!!! Keep the Mayor of New York out of our business. Shame on him.

  22. Ayla says:

    This isn’t about the government making choices for us. (Unlike the soda thing which is ridiculous) You can still get formula if you ask for it, this simply stops formula companies from PUSHING formula down a mom’s throat. Formula companies are currently paying hospitals to have access to women when they are at their most weak and vulnerable (following child birth), all to get their babies hooked on formula.

    Unlike other, free market consumer choices, once a mom has given her baby formula for a few days, she cannot go back to breastfeeding. Her choice can be taken away in a heart beat. Her baby’s very existence now depends on this commercial product. I think there is no harm in just making it one extra step to get the formula so the mom must pause and think for half a second before she signs on to this very expensive and unhealthy way to feed her baby.

    • DrRonIsIn says:

      Calling formula unhealthy is a stretch. It has fewer benefits than breast feeding, but it doesn’t hurt the baby.

    • RayanneGraff says:

      This isn’t about the government making choices for us.

      Um yeah, that’s is exactly what this is. They are locking away formula, treating it like a dangerous substance. The state is basically saying that women can’t be trusted to make the best choice for their babies, and that if a mother chooses not to breastfeed for whatever choice, she should be inconvenienced & made to feel like a lazy mom for not nursing. Please, spare the conspiracy theories too, they’re ridiculous. I’ve attended many a birth in my day including my sister’s, and never once was formula “pushed down a mom’s throat”. It was made available as an *option*, but it was always made clear to the new mother that breastfeeding is the best choice.

      Unlike other, free market consumer choices, once a mom has given her baby formula for a few days, she cannot go back to breastfeeding.

      Please cite some sources for this. REAL scientific sources, not just La Leche League propaganda.

      The fact that you see nothing wrong with locking up baby food in a blatant attempt to coerce new mothers’ choices is disturbing. Wait till someone takes away your choices for sanctimonious reasons though, then maybe then you’ll see why this is such BS.

      • sadie kate says:

        Speaking as a formula-feeding mom who opposes this move by Bloomberg, I have to say that it is incredibly difficult to go back to breastfeeding after formula feeding. Breast milk is a supply and demand situation. If the baby skips a feeding, the body produces less milk. If you want to supplement with formula but still keep up your supply, it’s necessary to pump and even that may not get your levels back where they were as a baby’s suck is more efficient than even an electric pump. Also, once a baby realizes how easy a bottle can be (no wait for milk let down) they will often eschew the breast. Supplementation becomes easier down the line as both mom and baby are more accustomed to the difficulties of breastfeeding, but giving formula to a newborn can make it virtually impossible to ever get your milk production fully in motion. I started supplementing with high-calorie formula after five months of exclusive breastfeeding because my daughter was losing weight; even with pretty much round-the-clock pumping and nursing her before topping her off with formula, I had fully lost my abundant milk supply in under a month. No, it’s not impossible, but it’s damn hard and it’s just biology.

  23. framitz says:

    When will NYC wake up and bounce this fool to the curb?

  24. Asia says:

    so, Bloomberg doesn’t agree with how other mayors handled chick-fil-a because the government has no place in that decision, but it should tell us how much soda we can drink and what we do with our own breasts. Seriously?! This mayor is a joke and is seriously crossing the line with these ridiculous “health initiatives” I can’t believe I’m actually saying this, but thank god I live in the south.

  25. kathygnome says:

    Is it the “evil gubbamint is evil” or the “omg boobies” pushing this? I’m sorry, but WTF? This is about hospitals cramming a bunch of marketing junk onto new moms, not about whether you’re allowed to do bottle feeding if its necessary–obviously if someone needs to they can still bottle feed. Geezus. Hospitals should be for health care, not marketing junk to patients.

  26. Ilovegnomes says:

    After I gave birth to my kids, I couldn’t even get the nurses to get my blood pressure medication to me in time (and they wouldn’t give it to me to administer to myself even though I had done it before being admitted). Why lock away food for a baby? If a mother’s milk hasn’t come in yet or she doesn’t have the ability, withholding formula =withholding food. How is that a good idea? Nurses are already busy enough and hospitals (at least in my area) are short staffed.

  27. pegasi says:

    I decided not to breastfeed for my health. Besides medication transference risk, I was large chested before I got pregnant, and would have been big enough to hire out as a cow after had I breast fed, nor would I have been able to stand up straight.

    I had back problems as it was, without the extra weight from lactating after pregnancy – I’m horrified to think of what I’d have had to deal with if I’d have had the extra weight added on to what I got “granted” from the pregnancy….. no thanks! I was more than happy to have a reduction surgery when my son was a year old…. that was the best 3lbs I ever lost….and I’ve still got half of what I had!

    No wonder some women chose to not breast feed…. I’d have needed to file for disability because of too much chest!

  28. zippy says:

    When my eldest was born, the pediatrician who checked her out before we brought her home cautioned us that the first time she got a cold, we should take her to urgent care if they were open or the emergency room if not, just as a precaution.

    Six months later, she gets her first cold, so we dutifully truck her down to urgent care with her little sniffly nose. They check her over, she’s fine, and the doctor asks if there was anything in particular that prompted us to bring her in, as all he’s seeing a bit of a runny nose. We explained about the pediatrician, and he laughed and said, “She’s breastfed isn’t she? That guys sees almost all formula fed babies, and yes, they usually get their first cold within a few weeks, and they get it much worse than this because they don’t have mama’s immune system helping them out.”

    It really, really does make a difference.

  29. cspschofield says:

    Is there nobody in New York City who is prepared to tell Blooming Idiot to mind his own goddamned business?

  30. Ruthe says:

    It seems like many commenters don’t understand the basic physiology of a newborn here, or the reasons breastfeeding can fail.
    A newborn baby might latch on in the first 24 hours, and usually will, but he might not if he/she is too traumatized by the weird hospital-induced circumstances of his/her birth.
    Aside from that: the brand-new baby’s tummy is the size of a cherry and he/she can’t take much in so whether or not your milk has, or has not, come in, is not really important the first few days.
    The way to get your milk to come in when the baby needs it is to constantly be putting that baby to breast. Not every three hours, every hour. Or even more. It’s for a few minutes, not forever. Moms can do this if they aren’t too traumatized or drugged from the birth. If you were, probably not your fault. Just do the best you can. The baby does not HAVE to be fed several ounces every couple hours. A bit of colostrum will hold them. Colostrum is way way different from formula.
    So, if someojne told you the baby wants to nurse every hour because you are effed up and not doing it right, or because your milk is effed up or not adequate, they were wrong, and ruined your chances. Took your choice away from you. Not your fault, they told you wrong.
    If you give that newborn a bottle of formula that takes the place of a feeding/stimulation of your breasts, and then they miss the next feeding too and maybe another, because that formula does not digest easily and quickly like breast milk would have, So there you are in the hospital or a day out of it, and you just skipped two-three breast feedings right when your body is supposed to be establishing supply. Look at that happy, full baby sleep. He/she does not wake up and cry to be fed. You are convinced that your milk is inadequate or insufficient so you give more formula while you wait for your milk supply to magically come in absent the stimulation of frequent feedings. Well, you are screwed, because no one told you you need the baby to wake up and be hungry and stimulate milk production in the very early days, by being frequently at the breast. For the next 40-50 years you tell people that your body was inadequate and could not feed a baby. You tell your friends, daughters, daughters in laws, this. You believe it. No one ever told you differently. You believe breastfeeding is hard and often fails to support a baby. You believe the medical professionals, doctors and nurses, who push for rapid, unnatural weight gain and growth in the early days and weeks, then lament the trend of obesity in kids a few years later. It isn’t your fault, and you should be angry, but instead accept the propaganda that the feelings you are overflowing with are “guilt.” Ladies you are not guilty, you are angry. Just stop passing that anger and misinformation along to your friends and to the next generations. Stop.

  31. RayanneGraff says:

    Wow… there’s pretty much no way to describe this other than “complete fucking bullshit”. Who the hell does this guy think he is anyway? Yeah yeah, we know, breast is best, but if a woman doesn’t want to breastfeed for whatever reason, she doesn’t have to, and nobody has the right to force her or coerce her into it. Some women have trouble producing enough milk, some can’t get the baby to latch, some babies develop milk allergies, lots of women don’t have the luxury of staying at home to nurse all day long(and pumping is often very painful & inconvenient), etc, and some women just plain don’t want to, and that is THEIR CHOICE.

    I’m getting so sick of the FUD being circulated by these titty-nazi lactivists, as if formula-feeding is equivalent to filling your baby’s bottle with 3 day old moldy diarrhea. My baby sister would have DIED without formula, she was 3 months premature & my mom wasn’t producing diddly squat. She thrived on formula, suffered no ill effects, and is ahead of her classmates in intelligence & growth. I had milk allergies & had to go on formula too, and I did just fine as well(and I drank the 80’s formula, before all the fancy DHA stuff). I always tested in the top 5% of my classmates, I’ve always been strong, and I’ve got the immune system of a god. A baby isn’t going to suffer by drinking formula, especially with the kinds available today. Whatever happened to having choices? Your baby will be just fine on formula, and no woman should be guilted or forced into nursing if she can’t or isn’t willing.

    • MarcelineTheVampireQueen says:


    • missy070203 says:

      agreed!!!! I tried to breast feed with my daughter but I was also working 3 jobs and taking 18 credits a semester when I had her….. It was impossible to breast feed –

      For those who have the time and the means…. I commend you, as for the rest of us we deserve the choice

  32. PeacockNowInExtraCrispy says:

    There’s no one size fits all solution. I’m a parent. I breastfed, because I believed that breast is best. But one of my kids was a preemie. There are no end of problems in getting a preemie to nurse. Ultimately, we had to supplement, because she just couldn’t get enough nutrition from me. Eventually, she did and we relied solely on breast milk.

    My point being, it’s not the place of the Mayor to interfere in medical decisions. And that’s what this is. Where did Michael Bloomberg get his medical degree? In between becoming a financial genius, that is?

  33. jacobs cows says:

    This way too personal for the govt to get involved in.Why not involve themselves in schools, transportation, public safety,etc.?

  34. Press1forDialTone says:

    I hope that this “man” who is an expert on baby nutrition
    has someone to tell “him” that some women cannot breatfeed or
    the quality of their milk is unsatisfactory. My own mother’s milk was
    too thick and my sister could not digest it properly so she switched
    to formula. When I was born, my mom had her milk checked by the
    hospital lab and they said it was still too thick but excellent quality
    but still advised her to bottle feed me alternating with some breast
    feeding to get her antibodies. I was happy to latch on to anything
    that tasted good :-) Why is a man deciding this policy? Why are men
    deciding policy about contraception for women?Why are men sticking
    their dicks in everything that is clearly a women’s decision?

  35. Beanma says:

    This just disgusts me!! I fully intended on breast feeding my baby when I gave birth, but I had to give it up when I went back to work. I didn’t produce enough milk to keep pumping through my work breaks and unfortunately I had to give her formula after 2 months.
    Thanks to the free formula sent to me by companies, and given to me by the hospital, I was able to put off buying formula for about a month after I stopped breast feeding. I saved a lot of $$ and after being out of work for several weeks the freebies really helped, they also helped in figuring out which brand she responded best to.
    How dare the mayor, advocacy groups intervene!! Everybody knows that breast feeding is best but there are many good reasons a mom might have to not breast feed or stop breast feeding and could really benefit from the free formula.

  36. Tailypo says:

    Give me a break! Women aren’t children who need to be told what to do and how to do it by a wise mayor-father. I especially enjoyed the comment about women being “at their most weak and vulnerable” after childbirth. Don’t wallow in victimhood. If you want to breastfeed, then do it. And if you want formula, then raise hell until you get it. Motherhood isn’t for sissies.

  37. theSillyGirl says:

    Feel bad for the mothers who are dry. My niece was a premie & her mother couldn’t produce milk. How fun for her if she’d had to have special paperwork filled out before she could feed her child.

  38. NYCHealthDept says:

    We read your blog post with interest and wanted to respond and address several inaccuracies. The initiative does not require hospitals to “hide” or “lock up” formula, nor does it restrict access to it for those who want it. Parents who want formula will not have to convince a nurse to sign it out by giving a medical reason. Parents can and always will be able to simply ask for formula and receive it – no medical necessity required, no written consent.

    For 3 years, New York State Law has required that mothers be provided accurate information on the benefits of breastfeeding. The City initiative does not require that mothers asking for formula receive a lecture.

    The piece erroneously dismisses the positive health impacts of breast feeding for which there is there is overwhelming evidence — supported by national and international health organizations. For mothers, breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancers. For babies, breastfeeding reduces the risk of ear, respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, as well as asthma.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics has just published new guidance to pediatricians in Feb 2012, reaffirming its support for breastfeeding:

    Ultimately, our goal is to support a mother in whatever decision she makes when it comes to nursing her baby and this initiative specifically is designed to support a mother who decides that she wants to breast-feed by asking participating hospital staff to respect her and refrain from automatically supplementing her baby with formula (unless it becomes medically necessary or the mother changes her mind).

    Bottom line: It does not restrict the mother’s nursing options in any way – nor does it restrict access to formula for those who want it.

    • HiddenFire79 says:

      Thank you for stepping up NYC Health Dept. So many people seem quick to read this as though formula is being held out of arms reach for the mother and child and I did not get that from this article at all. If you look around, the sheer rise in asthma and ear infections and other infections in children is phenomenal and I am no Dr but I would imagine a link could be found between those who were breastfed and those who were raised on formula.

      Many mothers have issues, but I can’t see how a large number of them would. I would think breast milk production would depend on diet and hormones and lets face it, many people from less than financially secure backgrounds have a diet rich in unhealthy foods and chemicals. Maybe there is a link between eating McDonalds and hormone injected chickens or something.

      The right to choose is still with Mom with the emphasis on benefits of breast feeding. And if my male roommate can pop a pill and push milk out of his nipples after a couple of months surely there is something that can be done for those who are having difficulty.

  39. Terrie21 says:

    Good article – however many mis-informed and inaccurate comments. Latch-On NYC is a wonderful initiative that hopefully will be replicated in cities and states across the nation. In fact, hundreds of hospitals already do not give out swag bags and limit access to formula – and their patient satisfaction surveys are excellent. Why? Because just like the idea behind Latch-On NYC – this initiative protects the consumer’s rights. 90% of women in NYC enter maternity hospitals planning to breastfeed. Don’t you think these women should receive support and assistance so they can succeed? Did you know that early introduction of infant formula undermines successful breastfeeding and in fact makes it more difficult to breastfeed? Doesn’t it make sense that if a mom is having breastfeeding challenges that a professional assist her instead of running to the pantry to get more formula? LatchOn NYC does not, repeat, DOES NOT, prohibit formula issuance should a doctor prescribe it for medical reasons or if a mother wants formula because she prefers not to breastfeed. Formula is kept in a secure storage area to assure at least two things: 1. Only mothers who want to give formula actually get formula for their babies. All too often babies are given formula without mother’s consent or even knowledge – even when the mother strongly told the staff that she wants to breastfeed! 2. Patient Safety!!!!! Many hospital items are stored in locked cabinets and logged out. Even ice packs in some hospitals! I am sure that you know there have been many instances of infant formula recall in this country. If formula is not kept in a secure storage area and is not logged out, how can we possibly track who received which can of formula. Oftentimes, the baby had been discharged already by the time the hospital is notified of the recall. Wouldn’t you want to know if YOUR baby received formula that was recalled? I know I would. Folks stop trashing NYC for establishing a responsible initiative – one that helps babies and doesn’t hurt them. Before you BLOG please get the facts. This isn’t one to argue about. There are no negatives. You want to breastfeed your baby – these hospitals will make certain that our baby does not get formula AND you get professional assistance, counseling, information and support. Should you want to formula feed or provide mixed feeds – you can do that to. You don’t have to beg – you just have to ask. And, when appropriate you will get assistance to help you achieve your own goals. Not the goals of the lactation consultant or the nurse or the formula company or even your Uncle Joe – but YOUR goals. And when you get formula for your baby – these hospitals ensure that they adhere to patient safety methods – that they know which baby received which lot of formula. It’s a win-win situation.