Have you heard the latest news coming out of New York City? The City with the support of Mayor Bloomberg introduced the “Latch on NYC” initiative, earlier in the year. An initiative to promote breastfeeding. However, starting in September many NYC hospitals will begin keeping formula under lock and key, just like prescribed medication; and will require moms who opt to feed their babies formula to listen to a spiel about why Breast is Best.
As a former New Yorker and expecting mother, I’m both bothered and intrigued by this initiative. I certainly see the merits and health benefits behind breastfeeding. In fact I breastfed both of my Pollitos and intend on doing so with Baby Boy. But this has been my choice. A personal choice. I have plenty of friends who chose otherwise and fed their children formula. So did that decision make them any less of a mother than I? I’m afraid that’s what NYC’s pro-breast campaign is insinuating.
I almost feel like this is another government crusade telling women what they should or shouldn’t do with with their bodies, and now their children. One thing is to commit to public service announcements promoting the benefits of breastfeeding, but another thing is to force a new mother to sit through a lecture and practically strong arm them into breastfeeding. Women decide not to breastfeed their babies for a multitude of reasons. And then there are those, that just can’t physically produce milk or babies who are unable to latch on to feed. So why chastise these women and force them to justify their reasons in choosing formula over breast?
The birth of a child is a joyous event, one filled with plenty of emotions; including postpartum depression. I’m far from an expert, but something tells me that this added pressure of breastfeeding may possibly negatively impact a new mom, maybe even nudging them towards the realm of postpartum depression.
Call me naïve, but I do feel that if you’ve received prenatal treatment, chances are that you’ve been advised of the advantages of breastfeeding. And there’s a strong likelihood that by the time your bundle of joy is ready to be delivered, you’ve made up your mind on which route you’ll take, when it comes to their nourishment. Instead of terrorizing an already emotional woman into breastfeeding, by forcing her to sit through a mandated “talk” and sign out formula like it’s medication; how about advocating tolerance and acceptance towards public breastfeeding. Just three weeks ago, yet another woman was embarrassed and castigated for breastfeeding in public in Denver, CO.
My uneasiness with the latest push in regards to the “Latch on NYC” initiative, is that the line between personal choice and government directive has totally been blurred. Leaving many women in NYC vulnerable to peer pressure and negative judgment. Mayor Bloomberg time to reevaluate parts of this initiative and butt out.
What are your feelings on this Pro-Breast Campaign?