Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City who recently took a lot of heat for his law that would ban the sale of soda in containers over 16 ounces, is at it again with a controversial pro-breastfeeding program. His Latch On NYC nursing program will mandate that hospitals to treat formula like medication. Formula will be given to those who choose to bottle feed only after they’ve listened to all the reason why they should choose to breastfeed. Bloomberg’s heart may be in the right place. He is trying to make NYC a healthier place for all. Unfortunately, his plans are often seriously flawed and the cause of outrage for many New York citizens.
Pros and Cons of the Latch On NYC Breastfeeding Program
Bloomberg’s breastfeeding program does offer some pros. At NYU Langone Medical Center, where the program has already been implemented, approximately, 28% more new mothers are opting to breastfeed their newborns. The National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy is thrilled with the program and praises it highly. Breastfeeding is healthier for newborns than formula, and encouraging new mothers to consider the benefits is definitely a good thing.
On the other hand, making them feel guilty for choosing to use formula may not be the best way to go. Also, hospitals are often understaffed. Nurses on maternity wards are already running ragged trying to keep up with all their patients. The added task of signing out formula much the way they’d sign out narcotic will increase their work load. On top of that, they can only sign it out after a lengthy conversation with the new mother about her choice. Increased workloads for nurses means less time to tend to moms and newborns. Less time for patients means more important issues can be missed.
The Deeper Issue Behind the Breastfeeding Controversy
The majority of the outrage surrounding Bloomberg’s programs comes from the fact that they restrict the rights of citizens to make their own choices regarding their health. Choosing between breastfeeding versus formula feeding is a very personal choice. Many feel that new moms who choose formula for whatever reason should not be subjected to lengthy lectures about the validity of their choice. Bloomberg’s programs and policies treat New Yorkers like children who are incapable of choosing what is right for them.
Allowing the government to make decisions as personal as whether or not to breastfeed causes a slippery slope. Bloomberg wants a healthier New York City, but his critics are concerned about just how far he’s willing to go to get it. Today, it may be a ban on the Big Gulp and a program to shame new moms into breastfeeding. Tomorrow, will he install timers on all television sets and mandate that every citizen obtain a gym membership? Encouraging citizens to become healthier is a good thing. Forcing them to do it against their will, on the other hand, is a breach of their rights.
What do you think about Bloomberg’s breastfeeding program?