breastfeeding debateYou may think you’re reading The Onion, or that it’s April Fools in July, but this is no joke: New York’s Mayor Bloomberg is urging hospitals to hide its baby formula so that more new moms will breastfeed. I know, I know, it’s ridiculous, not to mention disturbing and just plain offensive. Last I checked, women are supposed to have a choice when it comes to their bodies. Is it just me, or is Bloomberg’s latest initiative is totally ass backwards?

The New York Post reports that come September 3, the city will keep tabs on the number of bottles that participating hospitals stock and use. (Bloomberg is asking administrators to hide their formula behind locked doors, by the way – kind of how your parents locked up the liquor cabinet when leaving your and your siblings home alone for the weekend.)

It’s all part of the Health Department’s “Latch On NYC” initiative, which includes scrapping formula-branded mugs, for example, as well as documenting a medical reason for every bottle a newborn receives. What’s kind of weird about the whole thing – or at least somewhat “unofficial” – is that moms who want formula won’t be denied it, but hospitals still must keep the formula in secure storerooms. In other words, you can have the formula if you want it, but not before you’re made to feel like shit for requesting it. Oh, and you’ll also get a “talking to,” according to the Post, meaning that staffers will tell you why you should be offering baby your breast instead.

It goes without saying that new moms often feel vulnerable and out of control, especially in those first few hours and days following childbirth. Attempting to ban baby formula – or at least lock it up and pretty much label it evil – is wrong on so many levels. Sure, there’s no harm in educating women about the benefits of breastfeeding, but Bloomberg’s plan takes it to a whole new (degrading) level.

Let’s please remember that feminism has always been about choice – and that includes the right to breastfeed or formula feed, plain and simple.

(Photo: First Class Photos PTY LTD/Shutterstock )