Should hospitals lock up baby formula to urge new mothers to breastfeed?

A clear majority of MedPage Today readers do not want hospitals to lock up infant formula as a way to encourage new moms to breastfeed.

The 1,600-plus vote tally was 72% against and 28% for hospitals keeping infant formula out of sight. The prompt for their survey was a story about some 27 New York City hospitals that plan to stow away the formula in an effort to promote breastfeeding.    The voluntary program was launched by the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

These hospitals might be acting in good faith, but whether they are going about it in the right way is up for debate, according to reader comments.   “There is a HUGE difference between educating as to the benefits of breastfeeding versus creating a negative barrier to access. One way promotes choice and the other looks like tyranny,” said one commenter.

However, another reader said the lock-up requirement is “perfectly reasonable.”   She went on to say that it’s “sad that it is necessary,” but by doing so perhaps nurses would think twice before going for the formula.

Many readers agreed that breastfeeding is best for babies and that new mothers should be taught breastfeeding in the hospital. But many also drew the line at the suggestion of locking up the formula.

What do you think?   After all, baby formula is not a controlled substance….hmmm.