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Breastfeeding: Away with formula?

Published: Friday, Aug. 10 2012 10:14 a.m. MDT

In this Sept. 14, 2011 photo, Nathan and Jessica Ewald hold their 5-month-old son, Bennett, at their home in Oakbrook Terrace. Like many new moms, she got a hospital goody bag with supplies including free formula and formula coupons that she gave away as soon as she got home. Ewald, the daughter of a breast-feeding activist who fought to get those goody bags out of hospitals, says hospitals sending newborns home with formula can really undermine a woman's determination to breast-feed.

M. Spencer Green, Associated Press

Hospitals have signed on to a new initiative, “Latch On NYC,” which promotes breastfeeding, rather than formula, to the new mothers of New York City — the "most restrictive pro-breast-milk program in the nation," according to the New York Post.

What that will actually entail, KJ Dell'Antonia of the New York Times said, remains a matter of some confusion. "Somewhere between ‘locking up’ and ‘most restrictive,’ many parents envisioned themselves holding a hungry, wailing newborn in a hospital, negotiating with staff over whether breast was truly best."

Gift bags containing products branded with formula-logos will cease to be handed out at 27 out of the city's hospitals, the Huffington Post reported.

By withholding any other option from new mothers with a reminder that with each request of a baby bottle, a baby is being deprived of a healthy start and life, breastfeeding can be encouraged, Feministe said.

"The chorus of protest against the implementation of 'Latch On NYC' comes from a fear that hospitals, in a well-intentioned effort to promote breastfeeding, will also feel the need to standardize it — to create one-size-fits-all policies that are easy to track and enforce at the expense of something that has never been easily brought into line," Dell'Antonia said. "It's not unreasonable to fear that along with the formula, even the most well-intentioned hospital may inadvertently lock up common sense."

Rachel Lowry is a reporter intern for the Deseret News.

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