THINK POLITICS is a brutal, hateful business? Try motherhood. And look at the flood of triumph and frustration that poured onto the Internet last weekend, after Rhode Island hospitals announced they would stop giving out formula gift bags in maternity wards.
Lactation consultants were compared to the Mafia. Formula-feeding mothers were compared to junkies. That’s high-pitched rhetoric for a public-health initative that’s actually pretty small. In the Ocean State, the pile of freebies that mothers take home from the hospital - shoulder bags, water bottles, pacifiers, infant hats, diapers, lanolin ointment, and paraphernalia for cleaning various mother and child body parts - will now no longer include a tote bag, courtesy of a formula company, filled with a sample-sized can of infant formula.