By Labor Day, at least 27 hospitals in New York City will have implemented the main components of the Latch On NYC initiative, which aims to reduce the influence of baby formula promotion and encourage breastfeeding for new mothers.
As part of the initiative, formula will be kept in locked storage rooms, cabinets, or automated medication systems, to which only certain staff members will have access. Staff members will record each time formula is used and the reason it was used, and that information will be shared with the city’s health department monthly.
The voluntary initiative was launched in May by the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and it includes three other primary components:
Enforcing existing state hospital regulations that say that breastfeeding infants should not receive supplemental formula feedings unless medically indicated, a regulation that is widely ignored
Discontinuing the distribution of promotional or free infant formula
Prohibiting the display and distribution of infant formula promotional materials, including bags and other items branded by formula companies, in any hospital location
The purpose of this initiative is to support new mothers who choose to breastfeed,” according to the health department. “If a mother chooses to breastfeed, we want to support her decision and eliminate practices that can interfere with her ability to successfully breastfeed.