To breastfeed or not to breastfeed—that is a new mom’s question.
If you’re a new mom in New York, though, the option to formula feed straight from the delivery room may have just gotten a little harder.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s new voluntary Latch On NYC initiative, which goes into effect in September, means that nurses in participating hospitals will be instructed not to give formula to babies unless there’s a medical reason to do so or unless moms request it.
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Under this new plan, baby formula will now be locked away like other medications are, requiring a staff member to sign it out, track its distribution and report that information to the Health Department.
Twelve private New York City hospitals have already made the commitment to the initiative, according to the Latch On site, and all 11 public hospitals run by the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation also joined (which is not surprising, considering their previous ban on formula from gift bags and promotional materials in 2007).
(Editor’s note: Time Healthland reports that 27 of the city’s 40 hospitals have agree to participate, so it seems even more hospitals have signed on to the plan since the city’s press release back in May.)
We talked all about the marketing that takes place in the maternity ward—to include those handy, dandy gift bags—here, and your comments were split. One mom commented that “the formula marketing is very insidious,” while another wrote, “I ended up donating the bottles of formula. I hear you can leave that behind to be donated as well in some hospitals. I think the bigger issue is the targeting of toys and media outlets for infants …”
New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said in a press release, “Human breast milk is best for babies and mothers. When babies receive supplementary formula in the hospital or mothers receive promotional baby formula on hospital discharge, it can impede the establishment of an adequate milk supply and can undermine women’s confidence in breastfeeding. With this initiative the New York City health community is joining together to support mothers who choose to breastfeed.”
What do you think? Is this a good idea, or would you prefer the formula samples?