Bloomberg is at it Again (The War on Formula)


Lock up your sodas, your salts, your transfats, your porn (okay, that was another mayor) and pull out your breast.

Surprised he’s not in the camp that says you should shove a camera up your yoohaa before you get an abortion. :o

the supermarket i worked at for a bit had the formula locked up. more for shoplifting than a stand on breastfeeding…

i guess that could be one point in favour of breastfeeding. more difficult to steal!

Urgh. Aren’t there some ways in which formula actually is better for the kid? I always heard you were supposed to rotate the two, breastmilk for the antibodies, formula for some other thing.

No. For the first six months, breast milk is best. Breast milk has been specifically designed by breasts for thousands of years, to best serve the needs of the baby. Not only is it full of antibodies (formula is entirely antibody-free) it has an optimal mix of macronutrients. Formula has been designed by formula companies for dozens of years to try and imitate breast milk. It is not nearly as good.

To further fight your ignorance on breast feeding, see this link about the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.

Free formula given out by hospitals is actually an awful thing - it can screw up mom’s ability to produce milk, paving the way for milk shortages and further formula supplementation. The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative says that qualifying hospitals can no longer accept the scads of free formula given out by formula companies, and then passed on free to new moms. The hospitals can buy formula and give it to moms in need, if necessary.

I am confused as to why anybody would consider the promotion of breast feeding to be a bad thing. I am not a fan of Bloomberg’s ideas concerning other sugary beverages, but I think he is right on with this.


Because its a matter of choice.

There are a ton of things I can do to my children to screw up their lives that are legal, most of them will have far more impact on them than breastfeeding. I can feed them McDonalds four times a day. I can let them watch TV for twelve hours a day. I can unschool them. I can raise them as Scientologists. I can refuse vaccinations. I can sign them up for toddler beauty pageants or read James Joyce to them in their cribs.

Why breastfeeding? Is the marginal gain in health benefits really worth taking away a woman’s freedom of choice. This is the liberal version of pre-abortion “counseling” and BOTH suck.

My baby, my body, my choice.

One problem with the swag bags with formula, is that once babies are started on it, it can be hard to sitch to breast. By giving samples of formula, you do send the message that formula is hospital endorsed and starting with formula can cause problems with later attempts at breast feeding. Getting rid of the corporate gifts of formula seems good to me.

However, I’d nix the lecture, as being silly, though. I’d offer initial education and support for breast feeding, but if mom asks for formula, let it be.

Oh please. This isn’t about taking away your freedom of choice. He’s not outlawing formula. This is about not subsidizing infant formula, and about not encouraging new mom’s to choose (or be suckered into) to formula feed their babies.

If you, as a new mom, decide that the “marginal gain in health benefits” is not worth it to you, fine, like you said, you can do whatever you want. That doesn’t mean that hospitals should encourage you to make choices that are not in the best interests of your children.

Also, BTW, the “marginal gain in health benefits” of breastfeeding include:
*Decreased rates of gastroenteritis, respiratory disease, otitis media, UTIs, and necrotizing enterocolitis and sepsis in preemies.
*Reduced rates of obesity.
*Reduced rates of childhood cancer, lymphoma, leukemia, cardiovascular disease, allergies, and diabetes.


My son was born prematurely by C section because my wife had pre-eclampsia. He was four pounds and some ounces at birth, healthy thank god/s.

He would not latch on, he just wouldn’t. We made the decision to go to formula when he had nothing to eat at 48 hours and still would not latch, the first bottle I prepared for him he drank 2 ounces! We decided it wasn’t worth the risk as he was quickly dropping in weight to four pounds.

Fuck the formula haters, not every situation is the same!

Exceptional cases break rules, they don’t make them. Trying to argue against breast milk because you had an extreme baby situation is like trying to argue against seat belts because your cousin took out a minivan when he used his seat belt to autoerotically asphyxiate himself while barreling down the freeway at 85mph.

I forget this is the Dope, where every seemingly common-sense statement (Exercise is good! Breast milk is better than formula! You should look both ways when crossing the street!) needs to be followed by a string of qualifiers.

If you have a bone-disease where your femurs can’t support your weight, then maybe you shouldn’t go jogging.

If you have a premature baby who won’t latch and is losing weight, then encourage him to eat whatever you can, breast milk or not. Breast milk is best. If breast milk is not possible, then, clearly, obviously, of course, formula is better than nothing. In non-urgent situations, why encourage a second-rate option?

If you live next to an elevator shaft, look up and down, not side to side.

Seriously - for fuck’s sake.


There are a lot of things that are ‘best’. For example, it’s better for my son to have healthy food all the time than for me to indulge in pizza. But we do. Parents do this in all areas of responsibility.

At any rate, Bloomberg isn’t banning formula, but he has no problem actively discouraging it and lecturing moms! I’d like to see that areshole lactate.

I was never bashing breast milk or breast feeding, I was bashing the breast feeding nazis who think formula is evil no matter what. And are happy making as woman who made a hard decision feel like shit for it.

Meh, its a public health campaign that hospitals can voluntarily participate in (or not). And part of the agreement is simply to enforce an already existing State hospital regulation that doesn’t have anything to do with Bloomberg.

The articles trying to make a controversy out of nothing.

I don’t know anyone who is “happy” to make another woman “feel like shit.” I don’t know anyone who thinks formula is evil “no matter what.” Mommy-bloggers, maybe, (You had an epidural? Sniff. I never considered anything other than natural birth. I dried out the placenta and wove into a baby blanket.), but I don’t know any in real life. In any case, no person worthy of any sort of consideration would think the best choice next to breast milk is starvation.

I do know people who think that since breast milk is better than formula, it should be encouraged whenever possible, but who recognize that there are women who desperately want to breast feed but, for whatever reason, are unable to (can’t latch, no supply, preemie, etc.), and that these women don’t need to be made to feel any worse. I think you can encourage breast feeding without being a breast milk nazi.

Like I said up-thread, this initiative just prevents hospitals from accepting free formula from formula companies. Hospitals can still give free formula, and encourage formula feeding, when appropriate. This just takes away the incentive to encourage breast feeding for everybody. This hardly smacks of breast milk nazism.

Anyway - regardless of what it was, I am glad you had something to feed your son, and hope he continues to thrive! : )


Here’s an article about the difficulties in trying to measure the benefits of breast-feeding. Basically, it’s really hard to get around selection bias between families, and at least one study that relied on intrafamily comparisons (to try to minimize bias) found that most of the benefits did not appear (although some still did, and others were too small to measure).

No obesity benefit was found in the largest study, and I think other research has apparently tended to correlate child obesity with maternal weight; i.e., when obese mothers breast-feed, the children still show increased risk of obesity.

Other studies have correlated breast-feeding with increased risk of asthma and nut allergy. Those studies may well suffer from the same problems of selection bias, though.

The Atlantic article linked above concludes thus:

My wife and I will be facing these questions in a couple of months. We’re certainly going to try to breast-feed, but if it doesn’t work out, so be it, and we’ll skip the lecture.

But one issue with introducing formula early is that it can prevent successful breast feeding even for those moms who want to. It would be as if giving pizza the first time blocked you from giving healthier foods later. Argue pros/cons of breat milk, fine, but but there is a consequence to offering the bottle too early. If you try breast and it doesn’t work for mom/baby, you can always switch to the bottle. The reverse direction isn’t as easy.

In this society encouraging breast feeding is hard- ads for formula are on TV, you get coupons in the mail as soon as you begin seeing an OB, women breast feeding in public can still be harassed, etc. a small strong statement in support of breast feeding against the tide is not a bad thing. Lose the “lecture” but give new moms a fighting chance to actually make a decision, not have formula be the choice because the other side was quiet.

They’re banning everyone out here!

You just did it and seemed delighted to do so.

Women who bottle feed are also harassed. I was with my son - who is adopted and obviously so. Strangers several times came up and berated me for feeding him a bottle. My daughter was breastfed for six months and rejected the breast after that time - I got the same lecture from strangers when she was on the bottle in public.

If a few $3 coupons on $13 cans of formula sway people, I don’t think they were going to do anything other than breastfeed.

What happens is that in trying to justify “getting more women to breastfeed” you preach to the choir, miss the people who really aren’t going to be swayed by anything (because frankly, if you make it through pregnancy without the whole ‘breast is best’ meme being run through your bloodstream, you must have lived in a box), and contribute to women who can’t breastfeed feeling like shit. Now, have you really accomplished anything other than helping people like me and grude’s wife feel like shit.

By the way, with my daughter my milk didn’t come in for seven days and I had to resort to formula (or admit her to the hospital). I also had raging PPD (my grandmother probably died of PPD - she killed herself and the depression set in after the birth of twins). The lactation consultants lectures on how I shouldn’t give up and resorting to formula at this stage might harm my daughter did far more harm than good.

Let’s not talk about the rights and wrongs of formula. Let’s talk about Bloomberg.

I don’t live in NY any more, but even from here, the man is starting to get on my nerves. He seems to suffer from the belief that he can make people… better. And I do not hold to that.

You just don’t understand. He has fixed every problem in New York. There are just a few little details he needs to tweak before everything is exactly right.