July 31, 2012
NYC Mayor Wants New Moms Breastfeeding Rather Than Use The Bottle
Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is making a push to get hospitals to stop offering baby formula to new mothers and persuade them to take the natural route: breast-feeding.
Of the 40 NYC-area hospitals, 27 have agreed to Bloomberg´s Latch On initiative, and said they will stop handing out free bags of formula and bottles. Beginning September 3rd, the city will monitor participating hospitals and demand medical reasons for any bottles that are handed out.
While mothers who would rather bottle feed will not be denied formula, it will be kept under lock and key just like medications. However, any mother who requests formula will be given a staff lecture on why breastfeeding is a healthier option.
“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,” explained Lisa Paladino, of Staten Island University Hospital.
The move has received support from breastfeeding activists, but bottle-feeding moms are rising up against the Mayor´s move.
“If they put pressure on me, I would get annoyed,” Lynn Sidnam, a Staten Island mother of two formula-fed girls, ages 4 months and 9 years, told the NY Post. “It´s for me to choose.”
“They make formula for a reason, and the FDA makes sure it´s safe,” said Roxanne Schmidt, whose 14-month-old twins were fed with formula from birth. “Locking it up is just wrong.”
Allison Walsh, of Beth Israel Medical Center, said ultimately, “it´s the patient´s choice“¦ but it´s our job to educate them on the best option.”
“Human breast milk is best for babies and mothers,” said NYC health commissioner Thomas Farley when the campaign was launched in May. “With this initiative the New York City health community is joining together to support mothers who choose to breastfeed.”
In some hospitals, where the policy has already been in effect, breastfeeding rates have surged. NYU Langone Medical Center alone has seen a jump from 39 percent to 68 percent in mothers´ who choose to breastfeed.
The Latch On initiative is also supported by medical experts.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life as it lowers risk of ear, respiratory and gastrointestinal infections and the development of asthma. Breastfeeding has also been linked to a reduced risk of ovarian and breast cancer in mothers.