That is the question, isn’t it? And not just for new moms.
HLN asked this question on our Facebook page, and it seems you, our readers, have a lot to say about it.
Let’s catch you up to speed: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is publicly defending his city's “Latch On, NYC” initiative, which encourages moms to breastfeed instead of giving their newborns baby formula.
The NYC mayor says the initiative is merely a suggestion, not an obligation. The campaign is asking hospitals to voluntarily store formula under lock-and-key. That means nurses will need to sign it out to any new mom who asks for it, and moms will need to have a reason for asking. Bloomberg says mothers won’t ever be denied formula when they ask for it, but they will get a pep-talk from the nurse on why they should stick to breast-feeding.
The benefits of breastfeeding have been proven the world over: It lowers the baby’s risk of ear infections, pneumonia and asthma, among other things. And while health care officials and major health organizations, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization, are praising the initiative, a lot of you, dear readers, believe it should be a personal choice, not a government mandate.
Actually, that’s putting it lightly. Many of you are outraged that Bloomberg would even think to tell mothers how to feed their children:
Jessaca M.: “I can't stand it when a man starts telling women what is best for them. When men start popping out the kids then they can make the laws/choices on what to do. My body, my choices!”
Jimmy Rae T.: “OK, I'm a guy, but really, we are going to let a man decide how a mother feeds her child? Give me a break!”
Mary B.: “I guess when he has a baby, then he can voice his choice on which decision is best.”
Bill L.: “I think Bloomberg has overstepped his bounds. It is the parents’ prerogative to decide whether or not to breast-feed or not and not the politician's.”
Linda B.: “I think breast-feeding is best but it should be the mother's choice. I do support hospitals educating the mothers, but not making them feel guilty if they choose not to breast-feed.”
Melissa K.: “When he grows some boobies, then he can have an opinion. I was not able to breast-feed due to medical reasons. Formula is fine. And here is a shocker.....even breast-feeding moms should have a can of formula on hand for an emergency.”
Like Melissa, a lot of you are concerned for the mothers who can’t breast-feed because of illnesses or other medical reasons:
Beth W.: “I had a preemie who never latched on and could only pump for so long until I barley had any (milk) left and my insurance would no longer pay for the pump. (Breast-feeding) is not as easy as everyone seems to think it is.”
Sherry S.: “I was on thyroid medication for Graves Disease and was drinking iodine cocktails to prepare my thyroid for surgery, so I was unable to breast-feed. Should those women who cannot breast-feed be penalized? That's what such a movement would accomplish.”
Della E.: “I think (Bloomberg) should think about all the junkies and their children before jumping in and saying breast milk is the best for the baby.... When breast-feeding, the child gets everything the mother has taken in through the milk and that is not what is best for babies!”
Still others don’t want breast-feeding to get out of control:
Scott H.: “Just as long as they keep it to themselves. Ladies, if you have to breast-feed in public go to a restroom or a secluded room or, at the very least, have some consideration for those around you and cover yourself up. Don't be rude.”
And some of you are on Bloomberg’s side:
Renae D.: “You can still make a choice to feed your child formula! (Bloomberg) is simply saying the hospital won't provide a marketing bag from a specific brand. You'll just have to buy your own once you leave the hospital. How is that dictating the choice you make? How is that taking away your rights? You do not have a 'right' to a free goodie bag!"
Michelle H.: "(Bloomberg) is not saying you can't formula feed, he is just limiting what the hospital will give you ... which is saving them money and teaching sometimes young mothers what their bodies can do ... I think everyone should try breast-feeding! If you can't for a medical reason, fine ... but if you just choose not to, that is lazy. Breast is best!"
Kacey D.: "It shouldn't be a decision ... you should give your baby human milk if possible. There are too many mothers out there who claim they couldn't breast-feed when they've really never tried! It is better, so why wouldn't you want that for your child?"
So far, 27 out of 40 New York hospitals are on board with the initiative, which goes into effect on September 3.
HLN readers, let's keep the conversation going: What do you think about Bloomberg's decision?