This week is World Breastfeeding Week (1st–7th August) and it seems as if New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has jumped in with both feet.
His Latch on NYC initiative aims to promote and support breastfeeding throughout the city by asking hospitals to lock away baby formula and monitor its use, only giving it to mothers for medical reasons.
The initiative will also discontinue the practice of hospitals distributing free infant formula when a mother and baby are discharged.
Although the initiative, which is set to be in place in 27 hospitals throughout New York by Labor Day (3rd September), has the support of the department of health and the American Academy of Pediatrics, it seems that influential Mummy Bloggers are upset by what they see as the mayor’s interference into their personal lives.
According to ABC News, one of the bloggers, 42-year-old mum Katherine Stone, titled her Babble blog post on Monday “Back Off of the Mamas, Mayor Bloomberg!”
“It’s a thin line,” she wrote. “I think it’s a little bit scary because it begins to infer that it’s a bad, bad thing to feed your child formula.”
Another mum, Meredith Carroll, 39, wrote, “This isn’t morphine. I’m not a drug addict who needs to be kept away from a drug. I just want to feed my baby.”
The initiative, sponsored by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation, was introduced because hospitals were reported to be failing to adopt a positive breastfeeding policy, with experts labelling it a “dismal situation”. They were adamant that such policies would not restrict mothers’ choices in how they feed their babies.
This latest criticism of Mayor Bloomberg comes hot on the heels of his decision to ban the sale of soft drinks larger than 16oz and is seen by some as yet another move by the city to control personal choice.