Cerabino: Florida must switch to other side of breast-feeding issue


Florida’s going to have to crack down on breast-feeding.

We’ve been way too progressive in lactation matters, and now find ourselves glaringly out of step with the country’s new efforts to elevate industry-produced baby formula over mothers milk.

Over the weekend, U.S. officials reversed 40 years of scientific consensus by trying to get the World Health Assembly in Geneva to remove language that asked governments to “protect, promote and support breast-feeding” while also trying to strike language that criticized companies for making false health claims for baby formula used as a mother’s milk substitute.

And we thought President Donald Trump was only interested in draining the swamp.

I can see why the Trump Administration takes a dim view of breast-feeding. It’s bad business.

Nothing but mother-child socialism. No money exchanges hands. A pure handout. Might as well call lactating breasts “Obama boobs.”

On the other hand, baby formula is a $70 billion industry.

No contest. Especially when you consider that Nestlé or Abbott Laboratories are way more likely to pay for an event at Mar-a-Lago than the La Leche League — which, come to think of it, sounds like it might be full of MS-13 women. (Let’s sic ICE on them.)

This new government push against breast-feeding will mean that we here in Florida will have to dramatically undo the strives we’ve made.

And it should start with Gov. Rick Scott, who vetoed an alimony bill two years ago because it included provisions that called for equal splits of the child’s time between the mother and the father.

The equal-time provision was opposed by the Florida Breastfeeding Coalition, a group of doctors and clinical experts who argued that newborns needed to be with their mothers for at least the first six months of life, and for possibly one year or longer while the child is being breast-fed.

When legislators left the equal-time provision in the bill, Gov. Scott vetoed it, saying that the needs of the child ought to supersede the needs of the parents for custody parity.

And it was only last year that state lawmakers discussed requiring shopping centers to provide an area where nursing mothers could breast-feed their children or express milk in a place that was “shielded from view and free from intrusion.”

Yes, Florida seemed to be growing more attunded to the needs of breast-feeding women. So much so, that last year, when a burger-joint employee in Boca Raton asked a customer who was breastfeeding her 10-month-old son in the restaurant to stop, the employee was fired.

This led me to start a breast-feeding awareness group aimed at dissuading Floridians from complaining about seeing a woman breast-feeding in public. I called the group NIPPLE — Negating Ignoramuses Preventing Proper Lactation Entitlements.

But now with this new Trump administration directive, the ignoramuses are suddenly the entitled ones.

And it probably won’t make a difference to point out The Lancet study that explained the health benefits of breast-feeding.

“Our meta-analyses indicate protection against child infections and malocclusion, increases in intelligence, and probable reductions in overweight and diabetes,” the study said.

It also said that breast-feeding gave nursing women “protection against breast cancer and it improved birth spacing, and it might also protect against ovarian cancer and type 2 diabetes.”

If breastfeeding reached near-universal levels, it would prevent an estimated 823,000 deaths in young children every year, and another 20,000 annual deaths of mothers from breast cancer, the study reported.

But we’ve got to keep in mind what’s really important. It’s bad for business.

So, let’s get cracking, Florida. We’re making infant formula great again.

It’s time to shame those mothers nursing in public. If you see something, say something. We’ve got some product to move. That powder doesn’t sell itself.

This calls for a new state specialty license plate.

Maybe we can re-engineer the manatee one: Stow the mammaries.



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