Earlier this week I read about Mayor Bloomberg’s “Latch On NYC” initiative, which asks hospitals to keep formula samples under lock-and-key and requires a “breastfeeding talk” to encourage moms to breast feed every time a mother wants to use formula. “The key to getting more moms to breast-feed is making the formula less accessible.” I AM OFFENDED! PLAIN and SIMPLE!!!
Although, I agree with Mayor Bloomberg that this is important, it needs attention, a conversation that we need to talk about … but, his solution is incredibly insulting. I think there are far more productive ways of handling this then belittling the choice a mother wants to make on her own.
We have had the “boobs are better” message sent to us loud and clear!!!! To the point that when we can’t breast feed, or sometimes a mother just doesn’t want to do it, we end up feeling a guilt that can last a lifetime. Because, if we couldn’t or didn’t choose to breastfeed, well, then we must be negligent mothers. RIGHT? AM I MOM ENOUGH ? I had a great deal of difficulty breastfeeding. My son could not latch on. I spent $1,000 getting coached by so-called experts to no avail. My son was miserable. I was miserable. This forced me to make a very difficult choice. A choice that made me feel deeply inadequate. But it was most certainly a choice that I believe other women should not be subjected to a “strong talking to” in order to make. IT IS TIME TO MOVE PAST THE BREAST IS BEST! Robin Elise Weiss, LCCE, clearly makes some great points as to why!
WHY AM I INSULTED? Because, to come out and say that mothers who see the formula sitting in the bassinet will be tempted to use it instead of breast milk is beyond demeaning to the intelligence and decision-making abilities of any woman. A reminder from a nurse that “boobs are the best choice” will only make a mother feel judged, fell upset and feel like a failure. AND!!!! While breastfeeding might be the “healthiest” choice for babies, it’s not always the healthiest choice for mothers. Taking into consideration their physical and emotional health is extremely important. Being judgmental and educational when she doesn’t want it is un-necessary and not productive.
Here are a few examples of comments friends have made in reference to your initiative..
- My daughter needed cpr at 12 days old because Doctors and Nurses kept telling me if I tried formula she would never breastfeed, so I kept trying and she almost died of dehydration and starvation
- I had my daughter in NYC 2008. The nurse yelled at my mom when she asked for a bottle. I was trying to breastfeedibut she was starving and my milk hadn’t come in. She would only give her one bottle and was rude. I cried- of course. I continued to breastfeed for 2 months. Then stopped. I did the same thing in LA w/ my second, but the nurse was amazing- so was my Dr. And I am still breastfeeding at 8 months!
Feeding your baby is a delicate bond only a mother and baby can have. It is a beautiful experience every time! But, when the government is trying to control, mandate and monitor our choice on how to feed our baby, it is a conflict NO MATTER HOW SHE IS FEEDING… and sends a message from day one that we don’t know what’s best for our own children.
So I challenge you Mayor Bloomberg! BE ICONIC .. MAKE A CHANGE… TALK TO MOMS .. FIGHT THE COMMERCIALISM OF FORMULA IN A DIFFERENT WAY! AND LET US MAKE THE DECISIONS THAT ARE BEST FOR OUR FAMILY~
Here is what I would like to see!
- Support breastfeeding mothers with resources, like nursing bras and breast pumps when they leave the hospital to encourage them to keep breastfeeding.
- Create a community that supports mothers who breast feed in public or chose to breast feed over the age of two. Don’t allow them to sit in the closet!! Let them feel free to the choice they are making for their family!
- Create a better system for maternity leaves, child care and breastfeeding resources for working mothers
- Provide education about the benefits of breastfeeding during Pre-Natal classes. Make sure OB/GYNs, midwives and maternity hospital staff are all on the same page. Understandign of both choices and will not feed a baby a bottle if the mother does not.. As well as not making a mother feel bad for choosing not to breast feed