August 1, 2012

Latch on to this, Bloomberg

By now, surely you have heard of Nanny Bloomberg's latest attack on personal choice.  If not, allow me to remind you that first he came for trans fat, then salt, then he legislated the size of beverages, and now he comes for the baby formula.  The death knell of personal choice rings loudest in the Big Apple.

What is presented as a plan to prevent barriers to breastfeeding, instead, ends up as a nanny state plan that requires hospitals to keep baby formula under lock and key (just like prescription meds), to lecture a new mother each time she requests formula, require a doctor to 'order' formula, end the free 'swag bag' diaper bag giveaways and remove all traces of any formula company names and logos from the hospital - among other things.

I had a good laugh reading over the initiative's website.  The impetus weighs heavily on the belief that women are so stupid, that any sign of a formula company's name will be the determining factor in the decision between bottle and breast.  From their FAQ document:
Company logos are a potent marketing tool. Distributing any materials that have formula company logos, including diaper bags, confuses the mother, and implies that formula has equal nutritional value to breast milk and encourages formula use.
 
Studies have shown that following childbirth, the in-hospital marketing of infant formula can deter exclusive breastfeeding, and mothers who receive formula gift packs in the hospital are less likely to exclusively breastfeed at 10 weeks postpartum.
There are many arguments to be made here, the fact that they are citing a 1992 study is paramount among them.  I think there has been a little publicity about the benefits of breastfeeding in the past 20 years, certainly enough to give a woman all the information she needs to make the very personal choice about how to feed her newborn. 

What cracks me up, is the assertion that women are such gullible creatures that a pen, lanyard, coffee mug or, gasp!, diaper bag with a formula company logo will result in the assumption that the hospital wants them to formula feed their baby. 

It is apparently lost on Nanny Bloomberg that his preferred feeding method is attached to our chests.  Talk about a constant and, by birth, large reminder that breastfeeding is a choice. 

Finally, I can't believe that the cries of discrimination haven't started.  A new mother, in a, again - gasp!, traditional family and birth situation, will be run through the gauntlet for choosing formula.  What happens to babies born to surrogates and adoptive families?  Is Nanny Bloomberg going to round up all the gay men and explain to them how harmful bottle and formula feeding is for their children? 

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