New York’s Mayor Bloomberg Takes Aim At Infant Formula To Promote Breast Feeding

By Amir Khan on July 30, 2012 10:50 AM EDT

Bottle
First it was the ban on large sodas, now New York's Mayor Bloomberg is taking aim at infant formula (Photo: Creative Commons)

First it was the ban on large sodas, now New York's Mayor Bloomberg is taking aim at infant formula. His latest initiative, Latch On NYC, aims to eschew infant formula in favor of breast feeding.

The program would keep infant formula locked up at hospitals. While mothers who insist of bottle-feeding will still be able to, a nurse will have to sign out the baby formula. The program will go into effect September 3.

"Human breast milk is best for babies and mothers," Thomas Farley, health commissioner for New York City, said when the program was first announced in May. "With this initiative the New York City health community is joining together to support mothers who choose to breastfeed."

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While the initiative is optional, some hospitals have already began to operate under its restrictions.

"New York City is definitely ahead of the curve," Eileen DiFrisco, of NYU Langone Medical Center, told the New York Post. At the medical center, the breast feeding rate has surged from 39 percent to 68 percent.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be breastfed for the first six months of their life to boost protection against illnesses and allergies. Babies who are formula fed are at a higher risk for diabetes and respiratory and ear infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But despite the benefits of breast feeding, some NYC mothers are unhappy with the program.

"If they put pressure on me, I would get annoyed," Lynn Sidnam, a Staten Island mother whose two girls were formula fed, told the New York Post. "It's for me to choose."

While it is the patient's choice, doctors and nurses maintain they know best.

"It's the patient's choice," Allison Walsh, of Beth Israel Medical Center, told the New York Post. "But it's our job to educate them on the best option."

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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