I know that I’m a little behind on this…but it has come to my attention that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has started an initiative, “The Latch On NYC” initiative, that will begin in September. Under this initiative, NYC hospitals will begin locking up baby formula in an effort to encourage new mothers to breastfeed their babies. If a mother still chooses to formula feed her child, a nurse will tell her all of the benefits of breastfeeding that she will be forgoing by formula feeding. A nurse will then need to sign out the formula, as if it were a medication.
I find this to be a very disturbing idea. While I absolutely agree that breastfeeding is a wonderful thing and provides the absolute best nutrition for a baby, I disagree that formula feeding should be turned into a more difficult choice for new mothers. As a survivor of postpartum depression, I know how devastating it can be not to be able to breastfeed your child. When you’re in the pit of PPD, breastfeeding may be inconceivable. It pains me to think that a mother, already reeling with the pain and feelings of inadequacy associated with PPD, would be lectured about her choice to formula feed her child. There are indeed situations in which formula feeding is the best option, Mayor Bloomberg.
What about mothers with mental illness who require medication not deemed safe for breastfeeding? There are just so many situations in which formula feeding might be the only option for a mother. I sincerely hope that an individual mother’s health history is considered before she receives the kind of treatment that Mayor Bloomberg seems to think is necessary.