Starting in September, Mayor Bloomberg's push to encourage breastfeeding will incorporate a new program urging hospitals to keep baby formula under lockdown.
The latest installment of the city's "Latch On NYC" initiative will require new mothers seeking baby formula in the hospital to sign the formula out like medication.
The New York Post reports new mothers will not be denied formula, but if requested, they'll receive a mandated talk from staffers and nurses on why they should opt out.
27 out of the city's 40 hospitals have also agreed to forgo handing out gift bags containing products branded with formula-logos.
In 2011, Rhode Island became the first state to end the widespread practice of giving away free goody bags of formula to mothers and their babies. Months later in July, Massachusetts followed suit.
Earlier this year, the city's health department launched an education program sponsored by the World Health Organization and aimed at teaching new mothers the benefits of breastfeeding over baby formula.
The health benefits of breastfeeding are well-documented and include a significantly reduced risk of childhood obesity and a stronger immune system.
Even so, many mothers believe the decision ultimately lies upon mothers and they say the mayor should butt out.
Upon hearing news of the initiative, a mother told The Post, "If they put pressure on me, I would get annoyed. It’s for me to choose.”
Health Commissioner Thomas Farley introduced Latch On in May and said, "Human breast milk is best for babies and mothers...With this initiative the New York City health community is joining together to support mothers who choose to breastfeed.”
A poster from "Latch On NYC" below: