I want to preface this article by stating that I was breastfed, my four siblings were breastfed, my mom taught breastfeeding classes for Women, Infant, Children (WIC) when we were younger. I am a firm believer that breastfeeding is much better for the child when it is possible. However, we live in a society that shoves women in dirty bathrooms to cover up their breasts as they feed their child. Women are forced to remove photos of breastfeeding moms off of Facebook even if she is fully covered while feeding her newborn. Woman in combat boots face increasing difficulties breastfeed or even pumping breast milk while states side. Breastfeeding is considered vulgar, but when woman want to show off their cleavage in a sexy manner that’s fine, even on Facebook. So when I heard that Mayor Bloomberg, the same politician who is trying ban the sale of bottled drinks over 16 ounces that contain more than 25 calories per 8 ounces, is now trying to ban hospitals from giving out formula to new mothers, you can imagine my response.
The New York Post reports, “Under Latch On NYC, new mothers who want formula won’t be denied it, but hospitals will keep infant formula in out-of-the-way secure storerooms or in locked boxes like those used to dispense and track medications.” Similar to when SWAT teams raided Amish farmers for selling milk, criminalizing anyone who dares make a choice about the food products they put in their body (I grew up in farm country – raw milk is safe and much healthier), we now get to feel like criminals for making a decision about how to care for our child based on what the city thinks we should do rather than what we can/want to do?
The Post continues, “Lisa Paladino, of Staten Island University Hospital, said: “The key to getting more moms to breast-feed is making the formula less accessible. This way, the RN has to sign out the formula like any other medication. The nurse’s aide can’t just go grab another bottle.” Again, instead of educating women about the benefits of breastfeeding, teaching women how to read the formula nutritional label and showing them dangerous chemicals lurking in it (high fructose corn syrup, aspartame and fluoride), Mayor Bloomberg chooses to lock up formula.
Instead of making public restrooms breastfeeding friendly, or starting a campaign asking businesses to make policies that will give women more leeway to breastfeed or pump at work, Mayor Bloomberg wants to make women feel like criminals for asking for formula. This makes no sense.
Maybe it’s time for more women in higher office. What do you think?
Photo Credit: The International Breastfeeding Symbol was donated to the public domain by the creator Matt Daigle, see http://www.mothering.com/sections/action_alerts/iconcontest/waiver.html for more information.
Thank you for reading. I agree – breastfeeding is a much more natural (obvious) and better route, but it’s not right or possible for everyone. The notion that we can’t make decisions about our own health or our babies health is what bothers me most. Although I’ve witnessed some extremely rude behavior as my mother and sister breastfed their babies (completely covered mind you). I will never forget a group of college kids walking by and mooing at my mom when my youngest sister was a baby. Perhaps a re-education campaign to the entire public is in order. I still think that if he really wanted to help new mom’s choose breastfeeding, he should make public breastfeeding rooms NOT in the bathroom where a woman can sit in comfort and take care of her child.
You bring up an interesting point about sexualizing the woman’s body – I can definitely see that playing in a woman’s decision. Thanks again for reading and commenting!!!
Personally, I have VERY strong emotions on this topic, but am perplexed as to the right strategy. Women are trained to sexualize our bodies and not value its perfect design. As a result, we fail to realize the silliness of paying for an inferior product that our bodies easily manufactures due to excellent marketing strategies. The largest “boob-trap” we women face is a culture determined to make technology more valuable than understanding natural design.
Broad public gestures such as this make women defensive about their perceived ability to breastfeed. (I also believe due to mis-information about the breastfeeding process, women do not establish their milk supp;y properly vs. there being frequent cases of women not “having enough milk.”) I think we can all agree that a happy mommy = a happy baby, however, an educated mommy can be a nursing, happy mommy.
I exclusively breastfed 3 daughters without even a bottle due to my determination and stubbornness. However, I frequently was told “just give her a bottle of formula.”