New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has a new health initiative aimed at getting more women to breast feed their newborns. The goal is to keep hospitals from giving formula to new moms if they are healthy and able to breast feed.
Twenty-seven of 40 New York hospitals will participate in the "Latch On NYC" program. That means new moms who ask for formula in those hospitals will have to hear about the benefits of breast feeding first. Participating hospitals will also stop giving out free formula and keep track of the number of bottles used.
"We certainly want what's best for the babies. We want to prevent them from being ill. We want to prevent them from being admitted to the hospital. No one wants their newborn baby to be sick," said Maria Smilios of Flushing Hospital Medical Center.
Breast feeding is recommended for the first 6 months by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Ninety percent of new moms in New York breast feed exclusively at first, but only 31 percent keep it up past the first 2 months.