New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has developed a new ban on baby formula as a part of his quest to make New York City healthier.
Bloomberg is no stranger to leading health-related bans. He raged war against smoking in the Big Apple which led to a smoking-ban in city parks. He also created an initiative toward eliminating the sale of sugar-saturated drinks greater than 16 ounces to battle obesity.
Bloomberg is supporting the breast-feeding campaign by creating a new program entitled “Latch on NYC.” The new program deters hospitals from using baby formula in an effort to encourage new mothers to breast feed.
“Most of the public health officials around the country think that this is a great idea. I gather that the immunities that a mother has built up get passed along to the child so the child is healthier,” Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg’s “Latch NYC” initiative is the most restrictive breast-feeding program in the country.
Within the program, hospitals will no longer be allowed to give new mothers “swag bags” which include baby formula. If a hospital does give a newborn a baby bottle, they are required to document it on a medical need basis only.
“I kind of find it hard to believe that he can do that,” Upper West Side resident Elizabeth Passarella said. “I don’t think it should be something legislated by the government. Obviously, mothers should have that choice.
“It’s up to the mother to choose what’s right for her and her child. I don’t think the government should be doing anything to prevent the mom from being a mother and making her own decisions,” added Lisa Tacy, also of the Upper West Side.
Mothers who request a bottle for their babies and refuse to participate in the program will receive a lecture on why they should breast feed instead.
“I think breast feeding is a good idea and I think mothers should be educated and helped in the process, but I don’t think they should be denied the option to use formula,” added Christine Zinbelmann of Washington Heights.
A ban on baby formula is only one stop on Bloomberg’s crackdown against unhealthy lifestyle options. He admits that he’s not finished yet.
“Anything that we can think of that will improve your health,” the mayor said. “Life expectancy in New York City is three years greater on average in the U.S. Why don’t you just focus on the big number?”
So far, 27 of NYC’s 40 hospitals have agreed to the program which begins on September 3.