Friday, August 3rd, 2012
In the wake of an announcement by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg that infant formula will have to be “signed out” in the same way that medication is has led to an outcry among parents who say the stance is punishing to those who cannot or do not wish to breastfeed. The initiative is intended to encourage more women to breastfeed their babies, city officials maintain. Reuters reports:
State health commissioners announced on Tuesday that letters highlighting the importance of breastfeeding were being sent to hospitals, reminding them of regulations limiting unnecessary formula feedings for breastfed newborns.
The state initiative coincides with Bloomberg’s call for hospitals to lock away their baby formula and have nurses encourage new mothers to breastfeed.
Under the mayor’s plan, slated to start September 3, the city will keep a record of the number of bottles that hospitals stock and use. Formula would be signed out like medication.
The pro-breastfeeding campaign has drawn the ire of some women who argue it stigmatizes infant formula and interferes with a mother’s choice of what to feed her child.
A number of the city’s other health initiatives — including cracking down on large-sized sodas and banning smoking in public places — have attracted similar criticism from those who accuse the mayor of creating a “nanny” state.
Image: Infant bottles, via Shutterstock
Monday, June 18th, 2012
A feature in The New York Times tells the story of midwifery in New York City, once relatively uncommon but now bone fide “status symbols” on par with trendy preschools and high fashion. From the Times:
Are midwives becoming trendy, like juice cleanses and Tom’s shoes? It seems that way, at least among certain well-dressed pockets of New York society, where midwifery is no longer seen as a weird, fringe practice favored by crunchy types, but as an enlightened, more natural choice for the famous and fashionable. “The perception of midwives has completely shifted,” said Dr. Jacques Moritz, director of the gynecology division at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt and a consulting obstetrician for three midwife practices. “It used to be just the hippies who wanted to go to midwives. Now it’s the women in the red-bottom shoes.”
And like any status symbol, a pecking order has emerged. Just as getting your toddler into the right preschool requires social maneuvering, getting into a boutique midwifery clinic has become competitive.
“We constantly have to turn women away,” said Sylvie Blaustein, the founder of Midwifery of Manhattan, a practice on West 58th Street that has its share of well-heeled clients. Opened in 2003, the practice now has six midwives on staff. “Because of the quality of care, we can only deliver about 20 babies a month.”
“It sounds bizarre,” Ms. Blaustein added, “but midwifery has become quote-unquote trendy.”
Image: Pregnant woman, via Shutterstock.
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Large sodas and other sugary beverages will no longer be allowed in New York City if a new proposal gains approval by the Board of Health. The Associated Press reports:
The proposed first-in-the-nation ban would impose a 16-ounce limit on the size of sweetened drinks sold at restaurants, movie theaters, sports venues and street carts. It would apply to bottled drinks as well as fountain sodas.
The ban, which could take effect as soon as March, would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks or alcoholic beverages. Nor would it include drinks sold in grocery or convenience stores. Food establishments that don’t downsize would face fines of $200.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Wednesday that he ‘‘thinks it’s what the public wants the mayor to do.’’
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sodas and sugary juices are two of the six biggest culprits when it comes to the empty calories that are causing the American obesity epidemic.
Image: Large soft drink, via Shutterstock.