Steve Chapman on Bloomberg's Obsession with Breastfeeding


Bloomberg enthusiastically favors breastfeeding infants. But he is not content to simply express his view for your consideration. He wants to use the power of government to induce conformity to his preference.

The city health department has already mounted a campaign to promote nursing with the slogan, "Breast milk is best for your baby," displayed on posters in subways and hospitals. Gentle persuasion, however, has not gotten the unanimous compliance that Bloomberg desires. So starting next month, all public hospitals in New York City will enforce rules to deter any mother who would think of contaminating her newborn with canned liquids.

This approach brings to mind the old totalitarian rule: Everything not forbidden is compulsory. If breastfeeding is good, why shouldn't everyone do it? And if some choose not to do it, why respect their choices? Bloomberg and the groups endorsing his policy, notes Steve Chapman, are determined to get their way no matter what the desires of those who do the actual childbearing and child feeding.