Here's a post from our partners at BabyCenter! Every week, we bring you the best parenting and lifestyle stories from the experts at BabyCenter, including this post from Betsy Shaw about the NYC mayor's plan to promote breastfeeding.
As part of his push toward improved public health, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has shifted his focus from soft drinks to infant formula.
According to The New York Post, as of September, New York City hospitals taking part in a restrictive pro-breastfeeding program initiated by Mayor Bloomberg will be required to monitor every bit of formula they stock and use.
Not only must the formula be accounted for, but also, a medical reason must be indicated and documented for each and every bottle of formula a baby receives.
With each bottle a mother requests and receives, she'll also get a talking-to. Staffers will explain why she should offer the breast instead.
"It's the patient's choice," said Allison Walsh of Beth Israel Medical Center. "But it's our job to educate them on the best option."
The program, called Latch-On NYC, is "a citywide initiative to support mothers who choose to breastfeed, and limit practices that interfere with that choice."
Participating hospitals — 27 of the city's largest 40 — must also stop distributing formula samples and formula-branded swag, such as gift bags and mugs.
Breastfeeding activists have always believed one of the biggest obstacles to breastfeeding comes in the form of easy access formula at the most crucial point: in the hospital immediately following birth. According to CBS News' Health Pop, the National Alliance For Breastfeeding Advocacy is behind this program:
The Alliance's executive director says keeping baby formula under lock and key, like medicines are kept, helps prevent hospital staffers from reaching for a bottle first, instead of encouraging new mothers to nurse their babies.
Apparently some hospitals already have similar formula policies in place. According to quote from a nurse at NYU's Langone Medical Center, breastfeeding has seen a substantial increase — from 39 percent to 68 percent — since starting this program.
From what I understand, this initiative is not meant to deny formula to new mothers who insist on it, but to prevent those who want to breastfeed from being sabotaged.
That said, sounds like this program might have the potential make moms who want to formula-feed feel bullied. But it could also make moms who want to commit to breastfeeding feel more supported.
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Source: Flickr user Raphael Goetter