Starting in September, New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s “Latch on NYC” initiative will start urging hospitals to keep baby formula under lock-down. This new push to encourage new mothers to breastfeed will require new moms who are seeking formula for their infants to sign the formula out like medication. It reminds me of going up to the counter and buying your pseudoephedrine via the pharmacist after you have provided three forms of identification and have been made to feel like a crackhead for trying to treat your damn sinus infection.
A new mother will never be refused formula under the new initiative to promote breastfeeding, but she will indeed receive a “mandated” talking to from the staff on why she should opt out of her unhealthy choice.
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Yes, you certainly have the right to choose but know that your choice is a bad one and you are a bad person. Now, go home and think about what a piece of shit you are for doing this. Are you sure you want to give your baby formula after we’ve just told you how much better breast milk is for little Johnny? Okay, just so you know, that makes you an even worse parent, Mommy dearest. Just say no to formula. Shame on you for even considering formula. What kind of mother are you?
Don’t get me wrong. I think breast is best. But some people, like me, cannot breastfeed. I tried but I never produced enough breast milk. I tried everything. I pumped. I fed on demand. I popped fenugreek like it was going out of style. I drank mother’s milk tea. I drank a beer. But it did not work. I was desperate but no amount of trying, wishing, or praying would make my breasts function at a level that could sustain my children.
The first night home with our first child, I was up all night long because my daughter constantly cried to be fed. I was not producing any milk yet. She was starving. She cried. I cried. She turned orange. I took her back to the hospital. She had jaundice because I couldn’t produce enough breast milk to get into her system to help her not be. I had to use an SNS system to feed my baby. I was forced to use formula or let her starve. I still continued to breastfeed her until I stopped producing. I didn't quit breastfeeding my child by choice, my breasts stopped producing breast milk.
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I am all for breastfeeding and I think it is awesome, but sorry, Mr. Bloomberg, until you have a vagina and a uterus, don’t try and tell me how to feed my baby. Until you can produce breast milk, don't tell me that it's as easy as making a choice not to buy formula. When you can experience what it’s like to feel like a loser because you can’t produce enough breast milk to keep your baby alive and then have to sit through a “talk” that some male government official thinks you should have to receive to show you the error of your ways, then you can tell me how to feed my baby.
This is just one more instance of government getting into mom's business and women's reproductive rights. You may very well be right, Mayor Bloomberg, breast milk may be best. I agree. But for those of who can’t produce, should our children be punished because our bodies don’t function effectively? Should we mothers be made to feel like criminals because for whatever reason we choose or need to give our babies formula?
What do you think of the Latch on NYC initiative?
Image via NYC.gov