N.Y.C. Mayor wants hospitals to lock up baby formula

Posted Jul 30, 2012 by Leigh Goessl
New York City's Mayor Bloomberg is reportedly pushing hospitals to keep baby formula under lock and key so a higher percentage of women will decide to breastfeed.
Michael Bloomberg
Michael Bloomberg
David Shankbone
Mayor Bloomberg has made another move that restricts individual freedoms of choice. It wasn't too long ago he proposed a controversial city law to limit the size of sugar-based beverages allowed to be sold in certain venues.
Does he want to now limit a woman's choice in how she wants to feed her baby?
Not exactly, but close.
According to the New York Post, Mayor Bloomberg, through the city Health Department’s voluntary Latch On NYC initiative, wants hospitals to restrict baby formula.
The Post writes:
"Under the city Health Department’s voluntary Latch On NYC initiative, 27 of the city’s 40 hospitals have also agreed to give up swag bags sporting formula-company logos, toss out formula-branded tchotchkes like lanyards and mugs, and document a medical reason for every bottle that a newborn receives."
New mothers desiring formula for their babies reportedly won't be denied, but hospitals will be keeping track. Essentially, baby formula will be treated much like dispensing medication.
Lisa Paladino, of Staten Island University Hospital, said, “The key to getting more moms to breast-feed is making the formula less accessible. This way, the RN has to sign out the formula like any other medication. The nurse’s aide can’t just go grab another bottle.”
New mothers will also get a "talking-to" about the benefits of breast milk for each bottle of formula requested.
“It’s the patient’s choice,” said Allison Walsh, of Beth Israel Medical Center told the Post. “But it’s our job to educate them on the best option.”
Breastfeeding is indisputably best for babies, however is locking up baby formula the answer to encouraging new mothers to breastfeed? Or will this backfire and cause some women to push back if they feel their freedom of choices is being infringed upon, resulting in less women opting to breastfeed their babies?
According to the Gothamist, Gothamist Executive Editor Jen Chung, mother of one, shared her mixed feelings, noting that nursing is hard for some women.
"For some moms and babies, it's [breastfeeding] easy, for others, it's harder. I definitely think moms should give it a try for as long as they can but they shouldn't feel like terrible mothers if they can't or that the hospital/medical professionals won't support them. Keeping formula 'locked up' is also weird — moms could just make their partners/friends buy it from the drug store," said Chung.
The baby formula restriction is expected to commence on Sept. 3.