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