It was just a matter of time before New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, best known outside of New York for his regulation of what people put in their mouths (see here and here and here), turned his attention to breast milk.
As reported in the New York Post today, Bloomberg has ordered that New York hospitals "voluntarily" lock-up baby formula and, when they do dispense it, give a "talking to" to the new mother who chooses formula each and every time she does.
Bloomberg isn't just a nanny, he's a bitchy one.
Cherylyn Harley LeBon of Project 21 has issued a statement:
Mayor Bloomberg's latest, his Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, is part of Bloomberg's mode of reducing choice for New Yorkers and continuing to chip away at the free market.I hate to think what some of the nurses at the hospital where I gave birth to our twins would have done with a government-mandate to scold. One of them yelled at me for using the wrong door when I tried to take the babies to the nursery (there were two doors and no signs) with the result that I refused to allow the boys into the nursery for the four days of our stay, knowing they were helpless and one of the nurses was mean. Another nurse scolded me for not giving them information no one asked for. Fortunately, the care was good; they stitched me up great on the outside after the c-section (which I did not want, but "mandatory" because of a dual birth), so there wasn't any exterior mess at all when they forgot to stitch me up on the inside, and failed to look me over at all before discharging me (my doctor had a car accident, and no one else took an interest).
According to a CBS report, the initiative will help hospitals educate mothers on the benefits of breastfeeding over baby formula. The program is also sponsored by the World Health Organization which recommends that mothers breastfeed for six months.
As a mother who breastfeed her children for an extended period of time, I completely support breastfeeding our babies, however, that is entirely a mother's choice and one which should be made in cooperation with the baby's pediatrician and her own physician.
Mayor Bloomberg is now playing the role of pediatrician and neo-natal specialist. While it is great to encourage breastfeeding, the reality is that some women may not want to breastfeed their baby and is simply their choice. The government should not force them to do it.
Thus far, 27 of the city's 40 hospitals have also agreed that they will document a medical reason for every bottle of formula that a newborn receives. Essentially, a mother is now forced to breastfeed unless she has a medical reason for not doing so. This is just bad policy pure and simple.
All this is by way of saying some nurses already don't need any excuses to give "talking-tos," and the thought of combining those sorts of nurses with Nanny Bloomberg's oral fixations is unnerving at the very least.
I don't mean to imply all nurses are mean, by the way, I suspect most of them are very kind. The nurses who are moms of my kids' friends all are very nice, and it was a nice nurse who advised me after we'd gone home that no, it isn't normal for a person's abdomen to turn increasingly black for days after a c-section. But I do think hospitals have enough to do now without joining Nanny Bloomberg as he once again indulges in his Napoleonic tendencies.