New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is pushing yet another contentious initiative: promoting breastfeeding over manufactured baby formula. State officials say that on September 3rd of this year, hospitals will lock away their formula, keep records on stock and usage, and sign out bottles like medication. Letters on the value of natural breastfeeding as opposed to formulas are being sent out to hospitals now.
Is Natural Better?
Amidst accusations of “nanny” statehood, New York’s health department defends itself by addressing the decreased incidence of acute respiratory illnesses, inner ear infections, and gastroenteritis associated with breastfed infants. Additionally, an industrial pesticide called cupric sulfate is sometimes found in some infant formulas, and we all remember the 2008 melamine scandal in China.
Mother’s are also drawn to DHA/ARA-enhanced baby formulas, but what mothers probably don’t know is that these formulas are synthetic. They are made in a lab with algae and fungus, and then extracted with hexane, a neurotoxin.
Even mothers are at risk. Those who choose not to breastfeed (or remove breast milk via a pump) may also increase their risk of breast cancer later in life.
Whose Choice is It?
Not every nurse is looking forward to telling mothers to breastfeed her newborn. A pro-breastfeeding campaign defends mothers who feel stigmatized for choosing to employ baby formula. After all, only 39.7 percent of newborns in New York are exclusively breastfed, although the federal government says it’s is hoping to push that to a 70 percent.
The campaign also claims with a patriotic zest that it is a mother’s right to decide what to feed her child. True, but what happens when people don’t know what’s best for them or their children? And yet, we all know the perils of trusting government bodies to do the right thing; the USDA and FDA continually disappoint us.
Where do you stand on the issue?