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Bloomberg breastfeeding plan: This mom wants choice, not nanny

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I want moms to know the wonderful feeling of nursing and the healthy outcomes believed to result from it, but it can be hard to do and it may not be a choice that working moms can make. Although, breastfeeding is cost-effective and great for pulling your body back into shape.

The "Latch On NYC" initiative, which begins in September, will ask mothers of newborns in 27 of 40 hospitals that deliver babies to listen to talks about the virtues of breastfeeding their babies on the "breast is best" principle. The initiative does allow mothers to request of formula if a baby won't or can't latch on – or if she just wants it. So far I think we're inbounds. Hospitals are so in the lecture groove that anyone who has ever been in one is not too thrown by that.

The mayor is trying to get his state out of the bottom of the list of those who breastfeed and off the top of the list of those where hospitals give away formula to new moms.

New York state ranks next to last by the percentage of breast-fed infants who receive supplemental formulas in hospital, at 33 percent, New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley told the Associated Press.

According to the AP the New York initiative is part of a national effort involving more than 600 hospitals, says Marsha Walker, a registered nurse and executive director of the National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy, a nonprofit based in Weston, Mass.

Then, however, we get the nanny goat on a much steeper incline and the rocks start to come loose on treacherous ground – when Bloomberg shuts the latch on the cupboards holding the formula. The idea presumably is to reduce temptation for nurses to push formula, but the image is a bad one.

Also, I am not sure how that message will translate to nurses who may then feel it's a chore to have to go through whatever the process becomes in order to sign out the formula. Will mothers who ask for formula be put in a position of feeling like bad moms for asking for the alternative? Having a baby is an intense emotional and physical experience. Giving a hospital the added prison matron image is not going to help a woman's body achieve the relaxed state it requires for the milk to "let-down."

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