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Formula Stored In Locked Cabinet Angers Moms

August 1, 2012

The NYC hospital states that all formula will now be kept in a locked cabinet and its inventory monitored by hospital staff like all other commodities given to new mothers, but this has angered moms who say that having to ask for formula will embarrass them.  NYC Mayor Bloomberg has said that preventing formula manufacturers from advertising in the hospital and preventing formula from being given out as a free sample is a good plan:

Dr. Miriam Labbock, director of the Center for Infant & Young Child Feeding & Care, also agrees with Bloomberg’s move to institute the plan.

“It is amazing to me that so many papers have somehow headlined that this deprives folks in some manner,” said Labbock, who was previously in charge of UNICEF’s efforts to encourage breastfeeding, in an email to “All other nutraceuticals and drugs have been controlled under lock and key in all hospitals for ages – formula had been the only unfortunate exception.”

One might assume that removing a hospital’s product endorsement from its protocol would make consumers happy, relieved even that they might not be coerced into buying a product endorsed by a hospital while under the influence of blood loss, medications, and the exhaustion of giving birth.  Some mommy bloggers, however, who don’t even live in NY, have said that they feel women will feel guilty that they can’t breastfeed when they have to ask for formula.

Stone said that for women who can’t breastfeed, the policy would represent another hoop through which these new mothers would have to jump – possibly adding to their guilt at the worst possible time.

“I hear from moms who have all sorts of problems related to breastfeeding, whether it is the inability to produce enough milk, or medical conditions they have, or their baby having problems breastfeeding,” Stone said. “There are a lot of things that lead a mother to not being able to breastfeed.

“Many of them do go through the experience of having people judge them for that. People saying they are selfish, or that they don’t care about the baby.”

Carroll said she knows firsthand the guilt that comes with not being able to breastfeed as a new mother. She writes in her blog that, at the time her older child was a baby, she had tried unsuccessfully to breastfeed her.

“It’s not up to me or Mayor Bloomberg to pass judgment on any mother who makes a choice about how to feed her baby,” Carroll told “It’s embarrassing for a new mother to go out of her way to ask for something she may need or may want. Maybe someone who hasn’t been in that situation is not aware.”

What do the mommy bloggers expect, that every staff member at the hospital will automatically know what they want whenever any woman gives birth?  You have to ask for basic things like pads in the hospital, so what makes asking for formula a social embarrassment?  It’s ridiculous to assume that women who have to ask for formula are somehow deprived a right to free samples endorsed by the hospital.  So a woman has to ask for formula, and so it’s monitored like every other hospital supply, but so is Kleenex and so are Q-tips.  Really, people, are we talking formula here or social mores?  Monitoring what a hospital gives out is not taking away a right for women, it’s simply another business management strategy and whining about not receiving free samples simply sounds, well, whiny.


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