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ADVANCE Perspective: Nurses

Under Lock and Key

Published August 17, 2012 8:09 AM by Catlin Nalley

There's a new twist in the breastfeeding debate with the introduction of the Latch On NYC initiative. Set to go into effect next month, nurses at participating facilities will give formula to infants only when medically necessary or at the request of the mother.

In cases where the mother asks for formula she will first be given a mandatory speech on the benefits of breastfeeding. Under the new initiative, formula will be locked away. To access it, staff members will be required to sign it out, track its distribution and give those numbers to the Health Department, reports TIME.

Twenty-seven of the city's 40 hospitals have joined the initiative.

Participating hospitals have also "pledged to end the distribution of promotional formula and materials during the hospital stay and at discharge," states Latch On NYC.

Formula manufacturers generally stock hospitals with samples, which are then given to new mothers in diaper bags. However, this practice has become less commonplace, even before the initiative. Massachusetts recently became the second state to go "bag-free," Rhode Island was the first, according to TIME.

In addition, a new Health Department subway and hospital poster campaign was recently launched that highlights the benefits of breast milk, such as reducing the risk of ear infections, diarrhea, and pneumonia, according to an initiative press release

What do you think? Should hospitals monitor and deter the use of formula? Do you support the adaptation of initiatives like Latch On NYC nationwide?

posted by Catlin Nalley


I realize breast feeding is best, but what happened to choice? It is not a crime to bottle feed, is it? Why is a mother forced to feel like a failure just because she does not want to breast feed? I tried breast feeding three times and it was not for me! All my children are healthy and never got an ear infection, or croup, or gastroenteritis, etc. It disgusts me that a woman would be forced to breast feed or get a speech about it in the United States from a nurse who probably never suffered engorged breasts one day of her life.

Julia September 5, 2012 9:34 PM

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