Breastfeeding, whether a mother chooses to do it or not, is the focus of the "Latch On NYC" campaign, a new way Mayor Michael Bloomberg flexes the long arm of the nanny state. Why won't he butt out of a mother's personal choice?
Even as a woman who breastfed four babies, I think New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's well-intentioned but hotly contested breastfeeding initiative is going to be a bust for taking the so-called "nanny" state to a place where most moms just wish he'd butt out.
When I had the first of four sons, 18 years ago, after 24-hours of natural childbirth in a New Jersey hospital, my baby and my body did not click. I could not get that kid to latch on even with a La Leche League coach. And when he did I could not fill the order on demand. The child had lungs like an opera singer and could be heard a mile away. Finally, another nurse bustled in and barked, "You just have the wrong kind of nipples. Here's a bottle."
No, there's no such thing as having the wrong kind – that was absurd – but perhaps this is the kind of misinformation that New York public officials are trying to correct. I did eventually breastfeed the baby, as well as the other three, so I'm the most militant of breastfeeding supporters. But it's no moment of celebration for me seeing the roles reversed and women who can't or simply choose not to do what I did feeling like they're being butted by the Bloomberg nanny state.