Mike Bloomberg Creating A Literal Nanny State

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg seems to quite literally to turn the Big Apple into a Nanny State:

Mayor Bloomberg is pushing hospitals to hide their baby formula behind locked doors so more new mothers will breast-feed.

Starting Sept. 3, the city will keep tabs on the number of bottles that participating hospitals stock and use — the most restrictive pro-breast-milk program in the nation.

Under the city Health Department’s voluntary Latch On NYC initiative, 27 of the city’s 40 hospitals have also agreed to give up swag bags sporting formula-company logos, toss out formula-branded tchotchkes like lanyards and mugs, and document a medical reason for every bottle that a newborn receives.

While breast-feeding activists applaud the move, bottle-feeding moms are bristling at the latest lactation lecture.

“If they put pressure on me, I would get annoyed,” said Lynn Sidnam, a Staten Island mother of two formula-fed girls, ages 4 months and 9 years. “It’s for me to choose.”

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.

Okay, I really have no preference when it comes to how women choose to feed their babies, and I certainly have no objection to breasts in general. But, please tell me, what business is it of the City of New York, or any government body, how women choose to feed their babies?

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Dean says:

    In other words, Mayor Bloomberg wants the choice to abort a child to be between a women and her doctor, but wants the government to decide what a child can drink after birth.

    At what point does everyone get concerned that government is way overstepping its bounds? If we as voters allow this to continue, how far will they go? Can’t have a large soda, can’t give to certain groups or have certain beliefs, have to breast feed…is this OK?

    Keep in mind, it’s only good when your party is in power. Once the party in power changes…

  2. Herb says:

    “You can take my branded tchotchkes from my cold dead hands.” Is that it?

    I guess I just don’t see this as being all that unreasonable. Are they denying women formula? No. Are they denying women sound medical advice? No.

    They’re moving the formula from the “buy more crap” kiosk to the backroom. (Locked doors where they store the stufff? No way!) Nanny state? It’s an inventory relocation. Big deal.

  3. Markey says:

    I respect Mayor Bloomberg for his belief that All New York native born´s should be breast fed and non-smokers drinking sugar free soda without guns.

    ;->

  4. teresa d says:

    Did he ever have a baby, does he have any idea how hard breast feeding can be. It doesn’t always work and putting more pressure on a new mother will not make it any better or easier…. he needs to deal with other issues…..leave new moms alone!!!!

  5. Dustin says:

    @Herb: That’s an overly generous view, the very next sentence states, “document a medical reason for every bottle that a newborn receives.”

  6. Herb says:

    @Dustin:

    ” That’s an overly generous view, the very next sentence states, “document a medical reason for every bottle that a newborn receives.” “

    Which should be easy to come by….

    Baby’s hungry and mama don’t want to breast feed. Bam, it’s done.

  7. @Herb:

    Since when is it the business of the City of New York whether a woman choose to breast feed or bottle feed?

  8. teresa d says:

    Let’s ban smoking before we try and ban bottle feeding…..

  9. James says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Well, it’s a pretty clear public health issue. And, as Herb pointed out, there’s no denial, just a relocation to reduce formula consumption at the margins. Why should New York State furnish formula in the most accessible way?

  10. teresa d says:

    @James: I was under the impression that formula was donated by Similac, Enfamil, etc…. Hospital furnish all types of food to patients all day long why should babies and new mothers be different.

  11. James says:

    @teresa d: As I understand, there isn’t any difference. Per the quoted article, hospitals are moving away from using their services as a PR tool for formula companies, and instead providing clinical guidance for new mothers on best practices for a health baby. Viz:

    Under the city Health Department’s voluntary Latch On NYC initiative, 27 of the city’s 40 hospitals have also agreed to give up swag bags sporting formula-company logos, toss out formula-branded tchotchkes like lanyards and mugs, and document a medical reason for every bottle that a newborn receives.

    […]

    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 […] (bold mine)

  12. JKB says:

    The implication being for those women who fail to develop milk or whose milk is not nourishing, is that they are a failure as a mom right off the bat and are pariah.

    So when the new mother whose baby fails to thrive on breast milk, who is pressured to not use formula by, god-awful, social workers, doesn’t have the assertiveness to tell the city to go to hell, and her baby dies, will Bloomberg stand trail with her.

  13. teresa d says:

    @James: it’s unfair to a new mother….. you do the best you can and now you will have to feel bad for how you feed your baby – go after the mothers that don’t feed or take care of their kids not the ones who are just starting out and learning everything. When I was in the hospital with my first, I had a very hard time bfing…. it never worked, no matter what I did… if I had to justify every bottle of formula I gave my daughter I would have jumped out the window…..

  14. JKB says:

    With each bottle a mother requests and receives, she’ll also get a talking-to. Staffers will explain why she should offer the breast instead.

    It’s worse than I thought when I wrote my previous comment. Will these people stand charge for promotion of child endangerment when a newborn fails to thrive on breast milk? I know, they meant it for the best.

    Plus the title should be: “Bloomberg to new mothers, ” Show us your tits!””

  15. Thomas's Paine says:

    @Markey:

    I respect Mayor Bloomberg for his belief that All New York native born´s should be breast fed and non-smokers drinking sugar free soda without guns.

    I am a native of New York, and while some things do seem over thetop there, I did feel like they were looking out for the taxpayer. For example: Type 2 diabetes is costing us heaps of money in hospital and insurance costs, so a haelthier population is a more cost-effective one.
    Here in the South, huge people down cup after cup of sweet tea (think simple syrup with some tea) and not flinch. Sugar is being seriously studied and may be regulated like drugs one day.
    Infant formula is great after a baby has been nursed by the mother, giving it it’s first antibodies and lines of defense. IQ and breastfeeding are directly linked, and one of the minority programs is to get mothers to breastfeed to produce healthier babies (blacks have chronic low birth weight). This is all searchable, the Harvard Medical Journal and the Mayo Clinic both have extensive articles on this subject.

  16. James says:

    @teresa d:

    if I had to justify every bottle of formula I gave my daughter […]

    I fail to see the evidence that mothers have to “justify every bottle of formula.” Simply that breast-feeding is encouraged for clinical and financial reasons. I mean, jeez, I’ll repeat:

    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 […] (bold mine)

  17. teresa d says:

    Breast feeding is not for anyone for a number of reasons….. too many list – for those that want to do it and are able to do it, go for it. For those that choose to formula feed – same deal! The best nurse I ever had sent me home with 2 cases of the 2 oz formula bottles. Best thing ever for a new mom!!!! I wrote a letter saying how wonderful she was.

  18. JKB says:

    @Thomas’s Paine:

    If New York is so great, why are you living in free America? I meet your type all the time. NYC is the greatest but you never seem to go back. I left, lived all around the country but when I retired from the service, I returned to the South. My time in and around NYC was nice but I’d never want to live there as a victim citizen of the state.

  19. teresa d says:

    @James: nothing wrong with encouraging it…. this is downright bullying….

  20. JKB says:

    @teresa d:

    One hopes the very fine nurses will continue to do what is right for their patient as you relate. A nurse helped save my leg by helping me to realize through my drug induced fog that the pain in my leg was indicative of swelling so I force the docs to cut off the cast and then the infection was evident.

    The social workers are a bane on society and often do more harm with their foolish ideas. but they mean well.

  21. wr says:

    @JKB: Oh, goodie, the righties have something new to feel sorry for themselves over. And here I was afraid you’d have to keep whining about the fact that Britons don’t hate their national health service.

  22. Herb says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    “Since when is it the business of the City of New York whether a woman choose to breast feed or bottle feed? “

    Well, at least since Bloomberg was elected…

    But I wouldn’t be surprised if the City, as a theoretical concept in the modern world, is interested in all sorts of things, from whether food workers wash their hands after they use the bathroom to making minor moves to encourage breastfeeding. It’s just how it is.

  23. @Herb:

    They’re moving the formula from the “buy more crap” kiosk to the backroom. (Locked doors where they store the stufff? No way!) Nanny state? It’s an inventory relocation. Big deal.

    That’s what they said when they moved pseudoephedrine behind the counter. Since then it’s been getting increasingly harder to get. And I suspect that likewise that if people do keep buying formula, Bloomberg will keep making it more and more annoying.

  24. James says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Ah this slope! It’s just so slippery!

  25. @James:

    Slippery slopes aren’t always invalid. Do you really believe that if this fails to significantly reduce the use of formula, that Bloomberg is just gonna go, “well we tried and failed. Oh well!”? Or do you think he’s more likely going to try further restrictions until he gets the outcome he wants?

  26. SKI says:

    Key sentence/word: Under the city Health Department’s voluntary Latch On NYC initiative

  27. James says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Well, I’d imagine that would be between Mr. Bloomberg and the constituents he represents.

    And more on the point, saying X is bad because it could be Y is generally a bad way to make a case against X. Pseudoephedrine has a similar chemical structure to amphetamines, whereas baby formula has show clinical correlation with less than ideal infant development.

  28. teresa d says:

    @James: @James: @James: Both of my kids were bottle fed (as was I) and we are strong, intelligent and healthy….

  29. James says:

    @teresa d: That’s great! I’m happy to hear you and your family have been healthy, and that bottle feeding was appropriate for you and your children. But, well, that’s your personal experience, not a clinical trial.

  30. walt moffett says:

    Always interesting to see so many interested in denying a woman’s right to choose.

  31. teresa d says:

    @James: Others are entitled to the same personal experience. Until Bloomberg can breastfeed he has no business making the choice for others.

  32. Racehorse says:

    @James: When the mother enters the hospital for delivery, they should make their preference in writing. The hospital should have nothing to do with this decision unless the mother asks for information. This decision should be made: by the mother, with input from her doctor if requested, and made well before going into the hospital. This is another instance of the breast feeding crowd pushing their preference on everyone.
    When I was in the hospital, I demanded real food, not that slimy, tasteless cardboard that they try to force on people. If they did not have what I wanted, I sent a family member out to get it.
    This thing of getting rid of “swag bags” and lanyards with formula logos on them is really straight out of communist Russia!

  33. Cuzsis says:

    You can still have formula, now you have to ask to get it.

    So what is the big deal here?

    The big deal is formula companies send out lots of “Free samples” to new parents as well as coupons. They know, as apparently a lot of people do not, that once babies start the bottle it is almost impossible to get them to return to breast feeding. The food comes out easier and the sucking method is completely different. Mom doesn’t want to go through the pain (literally physical pain) of trying to retrain an older baby how to latch properly all the while baby is screaming about how much harder it is to suddenly get to the “food”.

    If having to ask for what you want (formula) is considered “nanny state” you been brainwashed by the formula companies.

  34. James says:

    @teresa d: Only Bloomberg isn’t “choice for others.” It’s a voluntary program and, per the article, no mother who requests formula is going to be denied access to it. Why must you continually misrepresent facts to advance your indignation?

  35. Dexter says:

    We just wonder what is going to be next from Mayor Bloomberg.
    A limit on tv ? (except the Bloomberg Station)
    Limits on donuts – no more buying a dozen
    No more butter at movie theaters
    A limit of 40″ on tv screen sizes
    A limit on the length of convenience store hot dogs

    In all of this (controls on soft drinks and baby formulas) I have heard nothing about a limit on beer and alcohol.

  36. teresa d says:

    @James: no of course they are not being denied but they will be given a lecture every time they want to feed their baby….formula is locked away so it’s hard to get, what is it a controlled drug??? I am so grateful for my experiences, however, I had one nurse that did give me a lecture on breastfeeding with my second child. I was recovering from my second c-section, wasn’t even able to get out of bed yet, was upset about my first child being home w/o me and she had me in tears. New mothers have a lot to deal with. Most know what they want, especially the 2nd or 3rd time around. Let them enjoy their new babies….. w/o justifying how and what the feed them.

  37. Dexter says:

    Mayor Bloomberg has managed to take NYC out of the US and into the Communist Bloc; all without firing one shot!

  38. TLD says:

    @teresa d:
    I’ve been reading your exchange with James, and he is clearly a bonehead. Most of the posters on this board who think it’s no big deal don’t seem to have breasts. They’re probably the same people who think it’s a great idea to regulate the size of a cup of soda in a movie theatre.

    Educating new moms on the benefits of breastfeeding is one thing, but locking away the formula and not making it available unless a woman specifically asks for it means that the choices will not be equally available. In realistic terms, that is a deliberate move to keep baby formula hidden.

    There was a time when condoms were kept behind the pharmacist’s counter. When the death count from AIDS was only about gay men, prostitutes, and drug addicts, no one ever talked about condoms, but when straight middle-class white men and women began to die from it, suddenly condoms were cool.

    Teresa has a point. In fact, Teresa makes multiple good points, and as a mother who has raised her babies and made her choices about how to feed them, hers are the strongest arguments here on this board. As a woman, I think it’s an absolutely beautiful sight to see mothers feeding their babies, whether it’s by breast or by bottle. But there is an almost militant stance taken by some breastfeeding advocates that breastfeeding is the ONLY way. I’ve known women who insisted on breastfeeding their children long after they should have stopped – if you’ve ever had a 6-year-old come up to you, frustrated because his mother doesn’t feel like letting him suck on her, and slap you across the breast saying, Auntie – I want to nurse. . . Well, it’s a pretty disgusting feeling.

    At the beginning of the soda controversy, Nanny Bloomberg said he wasn’t taking our choices away, he was simply “forcing” us to realize what our portion sizes were. So he’s not taking away the choice to have formula, he’s simply “forcing” new mothers to go through a humiliating process to get to it. Medical justification? The other bonehead on this board who said that medical justification could simply be “baby’s hungry, mom doesn’t want to breastfeed” clearly has never filled out a Medicaid form. Some women simply don’t want to breasfeed, for a variety of reasons – how is making their choice so much harder to get going to do anyone any good?

    Don’t forget, Nanny Bloomberg is the same man who says it’s acceptable for public school teachers and students to have to endure un-air-conditioned classrooms (I once emailed the good Mayor to invite him to my 105-degree classroom where my special needs kids were a) fainting b) crying c) miserable so that he could experience “toughing it out” with them) but who can’t himself endure getting into a hot car after leaving an air conditioned building, and who has his staff rig up a room A/C in the window of his gas-guzzling SUV. It’s time for that idiot to go to pasture.

    For the record, I was bottle-fed as an infant. My mother explained to me that she had a lot of difficulty breastfeeding my older brother so decided not to even try with me. I have an IQ of 137 (2.5 standard deviations above average), am a member of Phi Beta Kappa, have my bachelors and masters degrees, and am currently working on a PhD.

    Men truly don’t have a clue as to how painful and uncomfortable breastfeeding can be for some women. Newborn infants have incredibly strong sucking muscles and nipples are, if you didn’t already know, SENSITIVE. Teresa sounds like an involved and loving mom, so I’m pretty certain her kids will turn out just fine.

  39. TLD says:

    In addition, “correlations” between breastfeeding and IQ are from descriptive statistics, not scientific evidence. If you read the scientific literature closely enough, you’ll see that the correlations are affected by the infant’s environment, including educational levels of the family and socioeconomic background. Making such a bold assertion that “science” shows that bottlefed infants are less intelligent is, well, in scientific terms, damn stupid.

  40. teresa d says:

    @TLD: Thank you very much and I do the best I can as do most mothers! I agree with you 100%!

  41. teresa d says:

    @TLD: there are so many factors to intelligence, IQ score, etc…. breast feed a baby and stick him/her in front of the tv for 15 hours a day they will be dumb. Give the kid a bottle and some puzzles, crayons, etc they will be smart….. shockingly I have a genius IQ although I feel my kids have taken all of my intelligence away somedays!

  42. TLD says:

    @teresa d:
    Kids will do that to you 🙂 I don’t have any but I worked in the public schools for years, and many of my students were, at varying times, like “my kids.” Sometimes at the end of a very hard day I felt like my kids had walked off with half of my brain. I just felt like no one was really listening to what you were saying and dismissing the issue as “no big deal,” but it’s such an intrusion onto personal rights and choices and space. If Nanny Bloomberg were doing that to the men, I’m sure we’d hear about it big time!

    I did do some further reading and found that there are a number of health organizations that are pushing for “breastfeedig only” for the first 6 months, so various writers are usig that to claim that Bloomberg has “science” on his side. Before the inevitable onslaught occurs (attacking you and me on this board, I mean), I still want to caution readers about taking those articles so literally – they are meant to be recommendations only, and don’t take into account other factors. For instance, if a baby is bottlefed and subsequently develops asthma and allergies, is it because mommy neglected him/her refused to give the breast? Or is it because the kid lives in poverty in a shelter with peeling lead paint? Is the poverty the reason that the bottle feeding was necessary?

    The good thing about when kids drain your brain – by the next day they give it back 🙂 Best to you, teresa,

  43. teresa d says:

    @TLD: omg you said it…. if a bf kid develops an illness, it’s genetic, if a bottle fed kid does, it’s because they weren’t bf!!! thx!

  44. NYCHealthDept says:

    We read your blog posting with interest and wanted to respond and address several inaccuracies. the initiative does not require hospitals to “hide” or “lock up” formula, nor does it restrict access to it for those who want it. Parents who want formula will not have to convince a nurse to sign it out by giving a medical reason. Parents can and always will be able to simply ask for formula and receive it – no medical necessity required, no written consent. For 3 years, New York State Law has required that mothers be provided accurate information on the benefits of breastfeeding. The City initiative does not require that mothers asking for formula receive a lecture.

    The piece erroneously dismisses the positive health impacts of breast feeding for which there is there is overwhelming evidence — supported by national and international health organizations. For mothers, breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancers. For babies, breastfeeding reduces the risk of ear, respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, as well as asthma.

    Ultimately, our goal is to support a mother in whatever decision she makes when it comes to nursing her baby and this initiative specifically is designed to support a mother who decides that she wants to breast-feed by asking participating hospital staff to respect her and refrain from automatically supplementing her baby with formula (unless it becomes medically necessary or the mother changes her mind).

    Bottom line: It does not restrict the mother’s nursing options in any way – nor does it restrict access to formula for those who want it.

  45. teresa d says:

    @NYCHealthDept</@NYCHealthDept: So are there really any changes?? When I went into the hospital with both of my kids (not in NYC) I was asked what my plan was (with my first I was attempting to breastfeed, with my second I wasn’t). I just hope women continue to have a choice. I do have to say I know more breastfed kids with allergies and asthma then I do non breastfed, not sure if I believe all the hype… thanks for clarifying.