I’m not typically surprised by government, but I’ll admit that a news report from WDAZ out of Grand Forks yesterday did exactly that. Did you know that North Dakota has a “Breastfeeding Coalition”? We do.
So, what is the purpose of this coalition? Perhaps that’s best summed up by their own websites Policy Statement:
“All North Dakota mothers deserve the opportunity to breastfeed their infants, and all infants deserve the opportunity to be breastfed. Ensuring access to comprehensive, interdisciplinary, culturally appropriate lactation and breastfeeding care and services from preconception through weaning will empower women to breastfeed their infants exclusively for at least six months and to continue through the child’s first year of life and beyond while introducing appropriate weaning foods.”
Their Mission Statement:
“Building a healthy North Dakota through leadership and working collaboratively with communities to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.”
And their Vision:
“We envision breastfeeding as the norm for feeding infants and young children throughout North Dakota.”
This all sounds well and good. But here’s the kicker. This coalition isn’t a private organization. It operates under the umbrella of the North Dakota Department of Health. Here’s the introduction to the organization:
“The North Dakota Breastfeeding Coalition is comprised of statewide partners working on breastfeeding promotion and support efforts across the state. Members represent organizations such as health-care systems, WIC, local public health agencies, Head Start, insurance companies, Universities, doulas, members of local breastfeeding coalitions and mothers across the state. Participation is open to anyone who is interested in participating.”
The report from WDAZ showed that as a result of a $150,000 grant from the North Dakota Department of Health to the Breastfeeding Coalition, the state has now become the first in the nation to have breastfeeding pods in every major airport. An accomplishment to be sure, but is it truly the proper role of government to be funding such things?
Now, lest you think that I’m somehow anti-breastfeeding, I’m not. My wife breastfed every one of our children– and didn’t need a pod to do it, I might add. It is unquestionably the best source of nutrition for a baby in an ideal situation. And while $150,000 is certainly a mere drop in the bucket of any North Dakota budget – and the state could spend its money on far worse things – this is yet another example of smaller expenditures that collectively add up to be significant amounts of taxpayer dollars.
If we are ever going to significantly reduce the size and scope of government, then we must realize that it takes not only eliminating large expenditures on things the government has no business being involved in, but the smaller ones too. Too many things in too many places of federal and state budgets are more appropriately served through private organizations. And I believe the North Dakota Breastfeeding Coalition is another example of one of these.
It’s time to ween ourselves from the government teet.
1. http://www.wdaz.com/news/north-dakota/4336199-north-dakota-first-state-feature-breastfeeding-stations-every-airport 2. http://www.ndhealth.gov/breastfeeding/north-dakota-breastfeeding-coalition/