Venezuelan government turns breast feeding into national controversy
Venezuela's Congress will discuss legislation this week that would prohibit bottle feeding of infants to try to encourage breast feeding and reduce the use of baby formula, said a lawmaker of the ruling Socialist Party.
Legislator Odalis Monzon said the proposal would prohibit all types of baby bottles as a way to improve children's health.
”We want to increase the love (between mother and child) because this has been lost as a result of these trans-national companies selling formula,” Monzon said on state television on Thursday.
She said the Law for the Promotion and Support for Breast-Feeding, passed in 2007 did not establish any sanctions for using formula. However, she did not say what the sanctions might be if the proposed change to prohibit bottle feeding is passed by Congress, where the Socialist Party has a majority.
Monzon said, however, that exceptions would be allowed, such as in the case of the death of a mother, or for women with limited breast milk production, as determined by the health ministry.
She did not respond to phone calls seeking details, including how long babies would be breast-fed.
Such legislation would likely raise the ire of opposition sympathizers who say the government of the late President Hugo Chavez excessively extended the reach of the state into the lives of private citizens.