NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A controversial city-wide program took effect Monday.

Latch On NYC was designed to support mothers who choose to breastfeed their newborns.

“The Latch On New York Initiative is really to try to foster increasing rates of breastfeeding initiation as well as help mothers sustain breastfeeding, optimally for at least six months but even longer for those women who choose to do so,” Dr. Deborah Campbell, the director of neonatology at Montefiore Medical Center told WCBS 880.

The program has been criticized by some who say the city is dictating how new mothers feed their babies.

Instead, the 28 participating hospitals will no longer promote formula for newborns, according to the city.

“They’re working to try to create an atmosphere within the hospitals that really does try to support and promote breastfeeding by encouraging staff when a family asks for a bottle instead of right away just handing over a bottle of formula to try to explore with the mom what are her concerns, what are the difficulties she may be having with breastfeeding, if she’s expressed an interest in breastfeeding her child,” Dr. Campbell told WCBS 880

Some have said they think the nurses will lecture them if they ask for formula, or worry that formula will be under lock-and-key at participating hospitals.

“I know that there have been some concerns in terms of some women feeling that they were going to be forced to breastfeed if they were not interested. That’s, in fact, not the case. Certainly, as I said, any mother who wishes to formula-feed her infant, her baby will receive formula,” free of charge Dr. Campbell said.

Experts have said breastfeeding is healthier for the mother and the baby.

The city announced the creation of the Latch On NYC Initiative back in May.

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