Posted: Jul 31, 2012 8:25 AM by NBC News (CC)
A new program called "Latch on NYC" will promote the benefits of breast milk for babies, but some people are latching on to the details such as tracking formula bottles in hospitals and the end of in-hospital freebies from formula companies.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg defends his controversial move, "Anything that we can think of to improve your health."
This latest chapter in the Bloomberg legacy of banning smoking, transfats, and big sugary drinks is one big babystep over the line for Lyss Stern, the founder of website Diva Moms.
"The mayor first of all should realize, take a step back, that he is not a woman. He has never breast-fed, and he has no idea what it entails," she said.
Whether to breastfeed is an emotionally-charged and sensitive issue for many new mothers who have to make decisions based on circumstances sometimes beyond their control.
Nicole Cohen is the mother of not one, but two sets of twins. "Being a new mother who unfortunately was unable to breast feed their baby -- there was enough guilt and pressure that I was unable to."
Under the health department's new latch-on initiative, more than half the city's hospitals will stop handing out gift bags from formula manufacturers.
Beginning September 3, the city will record the number of formula bottles participating hospitals stock and use.
Few will dispute the health benefits of breast-feeding for both mother and child, though not every hand that rocks the cradle sees eye-to-eye with what will be the most restrictive pro-breast-milk program in the nation.
"I don't really like that idea. I mean, if they want to use formula, it's up to the mother. And it should be available," said mother Lori Zizza.