City Continues Breastfeeding Initiative
More than two dozen hospitals are taking part in "Latch On NYC," a new citywide initiative to discourage new mothers from using formula and breastfeed instead. NY1's Cheryl Wills filed the following report.
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It's a first for babies who are born in New York City hospitals. Unless there is a medical reason, mothers are being strongly encouraged to breastfeed their newborns.
"Using breast milk for the baby has so much more benefits than using formula," says Dr. Maria Plata, a pediatrician with the Montefiore Medical Center.
Montefiore Medical Center is one of 27 hospitals participating in Latch On NYC. The move is spearheaded by The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Participating hospitals are no longer giving free formula samples and officials have removed formula companies advertising and promotions from the maternity department. Unless a mother firmly objects to breastfeeding, nurses will be on hand to help teach them how to breastfeed.
Research shows breastfeeding reduces the risk of ear infections, diarrhea and pneumonia.
But some doctors say the Latch On initiative doesn't go far enough.
"Six weeks postpartum is not enough. We really should ask our lawmakers to give them 12 weeks," said Dr. Ketly Michel, who runs her own OB/GYN practice in Manhattan. "My experience is that once a patient goes back to work, six weeks postpartum, they stop breastfeeding."
And that could be a major reason why the city's own research shows that 90 percent of mothers in New York City start breastfeeding but only but only 31 percent are still breast feeding after two months. Although The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby's life, some doctors admit that when moms go back to work, sometimes after a few short weeks, it's not always feasible.