The borough’s largest private hospital has “latched on” to Mayor Bloomberg’s controversial citywide push to support breast feeding.
The hospital, including its Einstein Weiler division in Morris Park, will join several others in the Bronx in pushing mothers of newborns to breast feed, while making access to infant formula more of a chore.
In addition to Montefiore, the borough’s city hospitals Jacobi, Lincoln and North Central Bronx, as well as Bronx-Lebanon have joined 27 other hospitals across the city in the “Latch on NYC” program, first launched in May.
The City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene program also educates pregnant women, new mothers and their families about the benefits of breast feeding.
Montefiore has agreed to remove formula companies’ advertising, promotions and free samples from its maternity departments.
It will also give new moms the option of whether pacifiers or bottles are to be used with their child.
Formula will not be offered to new moms unless specifically requested.
Alexia Green, 26, who gave birth to her second child Sadiya Summer-Love Tatham at the Weiler division on Sunday, August 19, said she breast fed her first child and she will do the same with her second.
“I breast fed my first child, but I stopped a little early because she wasn’t really latching on anymore,” she said. “But with this baby I am not going to use any formula.”
Green said she always planned to breast feed because her family and friends told her it was the healthiest thing for the baby.
“I think Montefiore’s initiative is good, but I feel bad for the people who don’t want to do it or can’t do it,” she said. “I don’t think there is anything wrong with the program pushing for mothers to breast feed, it’s the safest thing for the baby as far as I know.”
Sandy Sosa, 24, who gave birth at Weiler to her fifth child that same day, said she did not breast feed all of her children, but she will with the newest addition to her family, Christopher Sosa.
“There wasn’t really a reason I decided to breast feed with this one,” she said. “I know a little bit more since I had my other children and I know it is healthier.”
Sosa said although she thinks it is nice that the program is trying to encourage breast feeding, she believes mothers should be made aware and educated about both options.
“It’s not really anyone else’s decision to make,” she said. “It’s ultimately up to the mother.”
Deborah Campbell, director of Montefiore’s neonatal division said the hospital has a long standing commitment to promoting breast feeding.
Although most women in NYC breast feed after the birth of a child, two thirds switch to formula after only eight weeks, according to city health officials.
Breast fed babies show significant health increases over those fed formula, according to the World Health Organization.
Breast milk can keep newborns from developing ear infections, pneumonia, and diarrhea while formula does not.
According to a Quinnipiac University poll, 56 percent of city dwellers are objecting to forced breast-feeding and only 24 percent approve of it.
Kirsten Sanchez can be reach via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 742-3394