New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg is once again making national headlines for another drastic approach to improving the city's health and wellness, but this time he may have over stepped his bounds.
Numerous studies have shown that breast feeding is the healthier alternative to formula feeding in newborn infants. It strengthens the immune system, digestive system and helps combat childhood obesity. As a result of these benefits Bloomberg has decided to take the "Breast is Best" slogan a step further and create Latch On NYC.
Latch on NYC will require that new mother's sign out formula as if it were medication. Formula will therefore be kept under lock and key and mothers will not be given the option to feed their babies formula until they have gone through an educational presentation on the benefits of breast milk and the pitfalls of formula.
While Bloomberg's intentions may be noble, many mothers are up in arms about this proposed legislation. Breast feeding is an extremely emotional process met with many frustrations, for example: milk supply shortages or an initial delay in milk coming in, latching on difficulties for baby and mother, nipple pain and blocked ducts. What's more, mothers of multiple babies such as twins, triplets, etc. are often unable to produce enough breast milk to sufficiently nourish both of their children and would have to supplement feedings with formula to ensure proper growth and development.
It has been said that mothers who choose not to breastfeed because of the aforementioned challenges often feel guilty and depressed at not being able to provide for their children. There is already a ton of pressure from the medical community when it comes to breastfeeding, additional pressure from the mayor's office is really unnecessary.
We believe that breast feeding is a personal decision entitled to a certain amount of privacy. Education is important but force feeding it to new mothers not the way to encourage participation. In short, until Bloomie experiences the frustrations of breastfeeding first hand he should keep this piece of his political agenda off the table.