The Big Boob Conundrum (aka “Breasts of Mass Destruction”)

Careful – Big Bird Brother is watching…..

New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg has officially lost it:

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.

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 the patient’s choice,” said Allison Walsh, of Beth Israel Medical Center. “But it’s our job to educate them on the best option.”

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.”

Hmmmm……so now babies are going to have to wait as long as the rest of us before their “medicine” is brought to them by an overworked nurse? Do you really want future voters to starve, Mr. Bloomberg?
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Remember boys and girls – Nanny Bloomberg knows what is best

You may recall that just a couple of months ago, Mayor Bloomberg proposed a ban on all soft drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is proposing a ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks in the city’s restaurants, delis and movie theaters in the hopes of combating obesity — an expansion of his administration’s efforts to encourage healthy behavior by limiting residents’ choices.

The proposal — expected to be announced formally on Thursday in a City Hall briefing — would take 20-ounce soda bottles off the shelves of the city’s delis and eliminate super-sized sugary soft drinks from fast-food menus.

Golly gee willikers, Mayor Bloomberg – I do believe that you have just managed to regulate yourself into the proverbial corner here.

Given that the average amount of milk produced by a lactating mother (850 ml/day) is well over 16 ounces (473.2 ml), those 38DDDs are “containers” which clearly violate your Big Gulp edict (breast milk is sweet, and since it’s not alcoholic, that technically makes it a “soft” drink).

Good thing that container is biodegradable…..

Way back in 2009, Mayor Bloomberg stood in front of the United Nations General Assembly summit on non-communicable diseases, and lent his support to a declaration which recommended that they:

“Promote the implementation of the WHO (World Health Organization) set of recommendations on the marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children, including foods that are high in saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, free sugars, or salt” (Item 43f, page 7).

So….using the very standards that you yourself advocated 3 years ago Mr. Bloomberg, just how “healthy” is breast milk compared to baby formula?

The fat content of breast milk is roughly 4.2 g/100 ml – at 9 calories (kcal) per gram of fat, that works out to 37.8 kcal of fat per 100 ml of breast milk.  Given that the average caloric content of breast milk is around 70 kcal/100 ml, breast milk is 54% fat.

Most baby formula, on the other hand, averages around 45% fat and 68.7 cal/100 ml – which means that breast milk is higher in fat and calories than formula.

My God, man! What are you trying to do – kill those poor little babies?

Wonder what the fat/calorie content of this meal is…..

Given Mayor Bloomberg’s commitment to lowering the fat and caloric content in all NYCer’s diets, you’d think he would be PROMOTING baby formula, not banning it – after all, according to the NYC Health Department’s own standards, baby formula is “healthier” (lower in fat and calories) than breast milk.

I guess he is right in one respect, though – some boobs are clearly better than others:
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[Cross-posted at RedState]
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[Update 08/05/12]: Thanks to Stacy McCain for linking me! If you haven’t visited his blog yet, what are you waiting for? He’s got great stuff over there -

[Update 08/06/12]: Thanks to Doug Ross at Larwyn’s Linx for the linky-love! Doug just started a great 24/7 aggregator site called “Bad Blue” that is a great companion site to his main site – it’s become a “must-visit-daily” site for me -
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About Teresa in Fort Worth, TX

A short, fat, middle-aged, happily-married, mother of 4 daughters. A former high school valedictorian (way back in the Stone Age), a Civil Engineering major in college, a middle-of-the-road Conservative, and a moderate Methodist. I know just enough to get myself in trouble....
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19 Responses to The Big Boob Conundrum (aka “Breasts of Mass Destruction”)

  1. Pingback: The Big Boob Conundrum (aka “Breasts of Mass Destruction”) | RedState

  2. Bob says:

    No one could be more pro-breastfeeding than I am, but I still think Nanny Bloomberg is a blithering idiot.

    Like

    • Yup. I had 4 planned C-Sections (never had labor), so my body never knew it had a baby; my milk NEVER came in with any of them.

      All of them had problems processing protein, so they all had to be on special (read: EXPENSIVE) formula. They wouldn’t gain weight otherwise.

      So Nanny Bloomberg can just kiss my double-wide rear end….. :P

      Like

      • Bob says:

        Back in the old days they used to really push you to teach your baby to take a bottle, even if you were breastfeeding, so if you ever had to switch to bottles for some reason the baby would know how to do it. None of my four very stubborn babies would have anything to do with bottles, however. I finally gave up and stopped listening to experts. Oh, and did I mention that Nanny Bloomberg is an imbecile, a busybody, and a menace to society?

        Like

  3. Jay in Ames says:

    Wow, TiFW is poating about tatas!

    Wait, did I miss some content? OK, I’ll go back and read it…

    Nicely done.

    Like

  4. Christina Fowlkes says:

    Politics aside, I think the article quoted sadly misrepresented the initiative. Latch On NYC isn’t a program to ban formula. It is a program (which hospitals voluntarily join) to ban the promotion and unnecessary supplementation of formula to moms that have *chosen* breastfeeding. I definitely have an issue with government overstepping, but I also have an issue with marketing formula to women when they are trying to establish breastfeeding. What many people don’t know (including well-meaning nurses and even many doctors–my rant about how little we learn in med school about nutrition, lactation, and all kinds of other important stuff doesn’t need to go full scale, but it doesn’t make a bit of sense) is that introducing anything other than the breast (bottles of formula or glucose water, pacifiers, nipple shields, et cetera) without a medical necessity greatly undermines the establishment of breastfeeding and contributes heavily to the reason why so many women in this country do not meet their breastfeeding goals because of inadequate supply or other complications.

    This is an extremely complicated issue and one that can be very controversial. If anyone reads this and has questions about breastfeeding/lactation, please let me know. As women we need to support each other in our choices, whatever they may be! This program is not an attempt to guilt or shame mothers that choose or need formula, but to support mothers that choose breastfeeding. And new mothers can use all the support they can get to achieve their parenting goals!

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    • From the Latch On website:

      Hospitals joining Latch On NYC have agreed to:
      -Enforce the New York State hospital regulation to not supplement breastfeeding infants with formula unless medically indicated and documented on the infant’s
      medical chart

      -Limit access to infant formula by hospital staff
      -Discontinue the distribution of promotional or free
      infant formula
      -Prohibit the display and distribution of infant formula advertising or promotional materials in any hospital location

      Sounds like interefering with the mother’s right to choose bottle feeding.

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      • Christina Fowlkes says:

        But what is being overlooked is that this program is only for mothers choosing to breastfeed. Here are some quotes from the initiative’s pdfs:

        “Formula will be fully available to any mother who chooses to feed her baby with formula.”

        “Mothers can and always will be able to simply ask for formula and receive it free of charge in the hospital – no medical necessity required, no written consent required.”

        “The City’s new initiative does not set a requirement that mothers asking for formula receive a lecture or mandated talk. For the last three years, New York State Law under the Breastfeeding Bill of Rights, has required that mothers simply be provided accurate information on the benefits of breastfeeding. This requirement has not changed under the City’s new initiative.”

        “The initiative is designed to support mothers who decide to breastfeed. For those women, the program asks hospital staff to respect the mother’s wishes and refrain from supplementing her baby with formula (unless it becomes medically necessary or the mother changes her mind). It does not restrict the mother’s nursing options in any way – nor does it restrict access to formula for those who want it.”

        “If a mother decides she wants to use formula (or a combination of formula and breastmilk), she will be supported in her decision and her baby will be given formula during the hospital stay. If a breastfeeding mother changes her mind or requests formula at any time, her baby will be given formula.”

        The statements you put in bold are necessary because too often nurses supplement breastfeeding babies with formula without the mother’s consent or for reasons that might make a new mother nervous, but are not medically indicated.

        Like

    • New mothers initiating breastfeeding is between them and hospital stuff. What’s mayor Bloomberg got to do with it?

      Like

  5. Christina Fowlkes says:

    Reading the initiative and myths and facts pdfs provided on this site http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/ms/latchonnyc.shtml led me to view the initiative more as regulating hospital procedure in an effort to protect a woman’s choice to breastfeed. Too many hospitals pressure moms to supplement without a medical reason. Asking nurses to chart those bottles will reduce the number of unnecessary supplements given to babies whose mothers chose to breastfeed and will probably eliminate the supplements given to babies whose mothers specified their babies not receive any supplements (which happens way too often–scary!).

    I guess my concerns politically would be the cost of such a program. If it is low cost, I’d be inclined to support it. I’m not saying Bloomberg isn’t an idiot–I mean he is a politician after all.

    Like

    • It’s interesting that they felt the need to add that page after much criticism. There seems to be a lot of CYA right now. The main point is that this contradicts the main statement:

      Limit access to infant formula by hospital staff

      That is a bad thing, especially when coerced by the government.

      http://skepticalob.blogspot.com/2012/08/latch-on-nyc-backpedaling-as-fast-as.html

      Like

      • Christina Fowlkes says:

        I think limited access is being made out as way more serious than it really is. This limited access will make formula the same as all kinds of other supplies for newborns, which simply means that there won’t be samples of formula donated from companies trying to sell their product to women who want to breastfeed. Samples that hospital staff can take and use undermining a mother’s choice without having to chart it. And maybe they are covering their bums a bit, but maybe some of this backlash has had a positive effect making the program better for all involved–protecting mothers no matter what their feeding choice, which is what I’m all about.

        Here’s a quote from a lactation consultant, “Locking up supplies is not directed at parents. In the case of formula, the bigger issue is that some hospital employees simply have trouble believing that breastfeeding works. I would say that in about half the cases of the mothers I’ve seen who were told they had to supplement, it was not a pediatrician who recommended the formula for solid medical reasons; it was a hospital employee who insisted that the baby could not possibly be getting enough without any supportive evidence. To date, I have never ever met a mother who was prevented from feeding formula to her baby in the hospital. On the other hand, I have met many women who were devastated to discover that their babies were given formula without their knowledge or consent.”

        The way the initiative reads to me, this program is to support mothers who want to breastfeed. I don’t see any language to suggest that mothers who choose formula or need it will be negatively affected by this program in any way. Now, when I read some articles about the initiative, they sounded scary–but the PDF provided by Latch On NYC was well written and to me seemed to clearly state that this was a program in support of mothers who want to breastfeed and that is all.

        I’m still not saying I support the program. I plan to do some more reading about the financial burden of such a program. I am simply trying to understand the true purpose of the program without all the media tactics inciting the “mommy wars” and what not.

        Like

  6. Pingback: You Had Me at ‘Boobs’ : The Other McCain

  7. Christina Fowlkes says:

    And just as an aside, I texted a good friend who is on her OB rotation right now and according to her they chart everything administered to a baby (including diaper cream!) and encourage parents to keep a chart as well. I really don’t think this is as sinister as it sounds.

    Again, not saying the program is good, but I’m not convinced its as bad as some sensationalists would make it out to be! And I just find it much easier to truly discuss the pros and cons of anything once you can view it with an objective lens.

    Like

  8. G Mohawk says:

    Excellent post Teresa. My wife couldn’t because of the epilepsy medication that she was taking. I guess our kids would have had to cry for hours for formula until nurse Bloomy showed up.

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  9. G Mohawk says:

    I think the main point Christina was that why is any government involved at all, voluntarily to the hospital and mother or not? Govt isn’t needed in this decision. And people wonder why medical care continues to rise.

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  10. Christina Fowlkes says:

    I’m all for considering that, but it is hard to consider it with an objective eye while sensationalizing the initiative. Government involvement in health issues is one that I admittedly waiver on. I support Ron Paul and small government all the way and I know he wouldn’t be a fan of this program, but I see first hand how patients don’t always get the best care because of interference from both private and public entities. In this case, I do think formula companies take advantage of this vulnerable time and the pervasive presence of formula within hospitals undermines a woman’s choice to breastfeed by offering or administering formula at every bump in the road toward establishing breastfeeding. I do think it is an issue, and I’m not sure this is the answer, but I do think women need protection from the pressure to formula feed while they are learning to breastfeed because supplementation can keep them from attaining their goals as parents.

    Cost of care is a perverse thing in this country, and I don’t pretend to understand it completely, but private industries such as pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies arguably have a hand in it. But when it comes to formula, one reason it is so expensive is the massive promotion of formula in hospitals with free samples of the most expensive brands being sent home with every mother, even if she has explicitly stated she plans to breastfeed exclusively. That’s why I have so much trouble thinking about this in a black and white way: good vs bad. I guess I just see it from a lot of different angles.

    At times like these I think… gosh, I wish we’d kept governments small over time because now it seems like we have too much work to do to get back to our roots. People are dependent on the programs that have been put in place and other programs have caused issues that have to be dealt with before we can cut them. It all just makes my head hurt.

    Like

    • I breastfed and I wanted a sample just in case. Got one for my first baby, used it towards the end when I was running out of milk. Wanted a sample for my second baby and couldn’t get it because by then the hospital wasn’t giving out samples. It’s despicable that the mayor of NYC inserted himself into l&d departments.

      Like

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