|Oh no! Bloomberg says this is BAD!|
Read this Time article and then let's talk about it.
OK, ready? Here we go:
Encouraging breastfeeding is perfectly fine. Excellent governmental meddling, NYC Mayor Bloomberg. However, his campaign asks maternity hospitals to ban formula feeding of newborn infants unless medically indicated and restrict access to formula for hospital staff by locking it up and reporting its distribution to the NYC Health department.
As someone who had wanted to breastfeed, I understand the many benefits of nursing your baby both from a health and baby-to-mother bond perspective. I was able to nurse my baby girl for about 2 weeks before my postpartum health issues stole that capability away from me. I felt a terrible amount of guilt because I had heard all of the breastfeeding advocates praise nursing as a superior method.
I see it very differently now. Yes, there are great benefits to breastfeeding and there is a piece of me that regrets that I wasn't able to do that. However, I am incredibly grateful for the existence of formula, not only because it was my only option, but also because there are some pretty great perks of formula feeding too. Formula feeding allowed me to share the responsibility of feeding with my spouse and other family members during a time when I needed a lot of support. My baby has been progressing perfectly. Flourishing, in fact.
These bans and restrictions Mayor Bloomberg is proposing insinuate that formula feeding is bad. Just because breastfeeding may have some benefits that formula feeding does not, it does not make formula feeding bad. That would be like Bloomberg's campaign to fight obesity only allowing grocery stores to make the 95% lean ground beef easily accessible and if you want to purchase anything less lean you have to stand in line at the butcher's counter, explain to the butcher why you want the fattier meat, and then wait as the butcher records the sale so it can be reported to the NYC Health department. Shameful fatty meat eaters. Big waste of the butcher's time.
I know plenty of women who wanted to formula feed without a personal medical need to do so. They did so because they wanted to and it was their right to do so. Nobody (particularly a man who has never breastfed) should make them feel like they aren't making a good choice. Nunyer biz-nass, Bloomberg!