As New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been restricting soda, fast food, and alcohol, he has taken a new aim at infant formula. Called the “Latch On NYC” campaign, new mothers will be encouraged to start breastfeeding rather than use formula for their babies.
New mothers can find breastfeeding hard for the first few days and there is concern that they too quickly turn to easier alternatives. There is a proven immune benefit to mothers milk and many people are concerned that there is too liberal use of formula. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that new mothers breast feed for at least the first six months to boost the immune system of their new born baby. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released statements that babies who are formula fed are most at risk for diabetes, infections, obesity, and are at a higher risk for sudden infant death syndrome.
The campaign starts September 3rd and will be voluntary for hospitals. The goal of the “Latch On NYC” initiative is that infant formula will be treated like a medication. It will be locked up and prescribed by the doctors if the mother and her baby needs it. By creating a delay in the delivery of the formula, Bloomberg hopes that mothers will give breastfeeding one last try.
One hospital that has already implemented the initiative has seen great success. NYU Langone Medical Center has seen breast feeding rise from 39% to 68%.
In addition to promoting breast feeding, this initiative seeks to eliminate the “gift bag giveaways” that new mothers receive from baby product companies. Many of these gifted products include free samples of formula, but also company logo products such as lanyards and mugs. As of now, 27 of NYC’s 40 hospitals have agreed to eliminate these gift bags.
While Bloomberg has been criticized as being a “nanny” for his residents, the National Alliance for Breast-Feeding Advocacy is fully behind this campaign.
What do you think of hospitals restricting infant formula?