But It’s For Your Own Good

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” C.S. Lewis.

New York City Mayor Nanny Bloomberg knows what is best for you. Of course, it is not enough to know what is best for you and tell you. He, as a control freak, has to make sure that he can coerce you into making those choices. His latest move, since banning store-bought soft drink cups over 16 ounces, is to make it harder for hospital staff to dispense and new moms to receive formula in bottles for their babies. Many medical experts believe that breast milk is in the best health interests of newborns. Under the Bloomberg regime, twenty-seven of the forty NYC hospitals are now going to regulate where and how bottles with formula are to be kept and dispensed. The bottles will be kept under lock and key and in out-of-the-way places so that it is harder for hospital staff to just give them out per request. Records will be kept and names will be taken and a medical reason will be necessary for each bottle dispensed. If a new mom wants formula, she will get a talking to about the benefits of breast milk for each bottle she receives.

I have some personal experience about this issue.
When my wife gave birth to our first child all those years, ago we both agreed that breastfeeding was the best way for our daughter, Everything seemed to be going fine, but my daughter began to lose weight. The problem was that my wife’s breast milk did not flow well enough to make it easy enough for our child to successfully suckle enough.

After a couple of days, my mother in law observed that our daughter looked like she had jaundice due to the yellow coloring of her skin. I am embarrassed at how little I knew about babies and their health, but we were extremely fortunate to have my wife’s mom, who knew a great deal about these matters. In newborns, jaundice is a fairly common medical condition. Bilirubin is produced by the normal breakdown of red blood cells and passes through the liver. It is then excreted as bile through the intestines. Jaundice can occur when the bilirubin builds up faster than a newborn’s liver can break it down and pass it from the body. In our case, we read up on the condition and determined that because she was not getting all of the nourishment and fluids she needed, perhaps the bilirubin was being reabsorbed before she could excrete it in her stool. She had not defecated in a couple of days.

A visit to the pediatrician confirmed my mother in law’s suspicions and we asked the doctor what we should do. The doctor said that he thought breastfeeding was the best way to nourish babies and did not want to encourage us to turn to bottle feeding. He did it in such a way that I thought he was being what we would now call politically correct. That evening we decided to give my daughter the bottle with formula because we felt she was getting too dehydrated and we feared the possible consequences. After one day of bottle-feeding, she defecated and soon her color returned to normal. The bilirubin count was found to be normal and the jaundice was gone in a short time. I was fairly angry at the doctor and told him what I thought of his dedication to breastfeeding over our instincts and the risk that his beliefs, had we followed them, could have posed to our baby. It upsets me to this day to think about what could have happened had we not made the decision to give her the formula. Had we been in a NYC hospital where the government now stigmatizes and actively discourages us for following our instincts, our baby could have been permanently injured and could have had a stroke from being dehydrated.

The point here is that no one, not even Mayor Bloomberg, should get in between parents and their baby when it comes to this issue. Bloomberg should take his breastfeeding fanaticism, get out of the way and leave the parenting to the rest of us without his heavy-handed government and its coercive ways of forcing us to make the “right“ decisions. I fear that some babies will end up with permanent damage by this policy because of the heavy-handed hostility toward bottle feeding and the barriers that have been set up to discourage it. This is always what scares me about the fanatics, be they on the left or right. They believe that they and only they have a monopoly on the truth. You combine that belief system with government power and you have tyranny. But, of course, it will be for your own good.

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