What Latch on NYC Could Mean to You
Beginning September 3, 2012, 40 New York City private and public hospitals will join Mayor Bloomberg's Latch on NYC, an initiative that encourages new mothers to breastfeed their babies.
As part of this program, many hospitals will cease giving out promotional materials and free samples from formula manufacturers, and stop supplementing breastfeeding infants unless medically indicated. In fact, formula will be distributed exclusively by nurses in the hospital, just like any prescription medication, and any mother asking for a bottle will be informed about the benefits of breastfeeding before getting one.
“Human breast milk is best for babies and mothers,” said Health Commissioner Thomas Farley in a press release about Latch on NYC. “When babies receive supplementary formula in the hospital or mothers receive promotional baby formula on hospital discharge it can impede the establishment of an adequate milk supply and can undermine women’s confidence in breastfeeding.”
While breastfeeding has been proven to benefit both mother and child, some dislike the notion of it being regulated by the government and question the wisdom of making exhausted new moms feel like they're being judged and criticized for their choices.
My oldest son was given formula immediately after birth due to a problem with his sugar levels. This would have still happened under the new regulations. With my other two children, however, I asked that the babies be kept in the nursery at night and given formula so that I could get some sleep, while I breastfed in the daytime. All three came home with me and proceeded to breastfeed with no problems for up to a year. In retrospect, I appreciate that my wishes were honored without discussion. I suspect that had someone been assigned to talk me out of my decision, I would have agreed to feed the babies at night, leaving me feeling even more beat than I already was.
If Latch on NYC had been in effect when you gave birth, do you think you would you have done things differently? Or are you expecting and worried this may impact your choices?