Back off, Bloomberg!
Apparently the mayor of NYC doesn’t think people are smart enough to make their own decisions. First Michael Bloomberg bans sugary sodas larger than 16 ounces (because nobody is smart enough to figure out they can get more than one at a time), and now he wants to keep baby formula under lock and key at the city’s hospitals, just like narcotic drugs.
Under the Latch On NYC initiative which takes effect in September, nurses would have to sign out any formula used, document why it was used and
chide educate the mother about why breast milk is better.
I think this initiative means well. We all know that breast milk is better for babies. My concern is that in their eagerness to make sure all moms breastfeed, the well being and overall birth experience of the mother might take a backseat.
Let me explain. I had every intention of breastfeeding my son when he was born five months ago. I had the breast pump and all accouterments at the ready. Even after a difficult labor and eventual cesarean, I was determined to breastfeed. Mother nature just didn’t agree. At 41 years of age, I didn’t get any milk. I kept trying over the four days I was in the hospital, producing a crabby and hungry baby, and a feeling of failure.
After two days of trying at home and a tearful call to the lactation nurse because my son was losing weight at an alarming rate, she gently suggested that I consider a switch to formula. When I protested, she asked me how I wanted to remember my time with my newborn. Did I want to remember a time full of frustration and crying on both our parts, or did I want to look back and remember a peaceful time of bonding with my son?
She was right, and her gentle question gave me the peace that allowed me to switch to formula without guilt.
My concern with NYC’s breastfeeding initiative is that the gentle suggestion of formula by a lactation nurse might be squelched. Someone like me might be encouraged to continue trying to breastfeed even though it isn’t in the best interest of mom or baby. More than likely they will switch to formula eventually anyway, and they will have feelings of guilt and failure and memories of a birth experience that aren’t as happy as this time should be.
The birth experience is wonderful and sacred. We don’t need politicians intruding upon it by crafting policies with a One Size Fits All mentality. I say back off, Bloomberg.
What do you think about this initiative? Good idea, or more movement to a nanny state?