First he tried to take super-sized sodas out of the mouths of adults. Now New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to take formula out of the mouths of babies. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, with the enthusiastic backing of the mayor, is strongly encouraging — though not yet requiring — city hospitals to lock down all infant formula in an effort to convince new mothers to breastfeed their babies.
“Starting Sept. 3,” reports the New York Post, “the city will keep tabs on the number of bottles that participating hospitals stock and use — the most restrictive pro-breast-milk program in the nation.” Formula will be kept “in out-of-the-way secure storerooms or in locked boxes like those used to dispense and track medications,” and a nurse will have to “sign out the formula like any other medication,” documenting a medical reason for supplying it. In addition, any mother asking for formula for her baby will get a side order: a lecture on the benefits of breastfeeding.
It’s all part of the city’s “Latch On NYC” initiative, designed, according to a Health Department press release, “to support a mother’s choice to breastfeed.” A mother’s choice not to breastfeed, on the other hand, will not be supported.
In fact, the Health Department is so intent on preventing babies from ingesting formula that it is also asking participating hospitals — 27 of 40 city hospitals have already signed on — to stop giving out free samples or promotional items from formula manufacturers.
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