August 20th, 2012

Breast vs. bottle: Should the government intervene?

By Carly Weeks
The Globe and Mail

In a few weeks, mothers in New York will turn into guinea pigs under a new program designed to boost breastfeeding rates.

Called Latch On NYC, the program requires participating hospitals to stop giving out free promotional infant formula, prohibit distribution of promotional materials, as well as restricting access to formula and tracking distribution.

The plans, championed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have been endorsed by organizations such as the American Academy of Family Physicians and New York Hospital Association.

Ask a woman what she thinks of it, however, and chances are she won’t sing Mr. Bloomberg’s praises. In fact, the response to the Latch On initiative has been vitriolic. Families are accusing the government of forcing New York mothers to breastfeed and taking away choice. Apprehension about the program stems from the false belief that formula will be locked up, mothers will be lectured by nurses every time they ask for a bottle and the only women who will be granted formula are those with a medical reason.

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