The policy has been harshly criticized by Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives who have described it as a “nanny state” initiative. Their hero is Mitt Romney who, according to the NYT, made decisions as governor to "pressure the state’s Public Health Council to reverse a ban on formula giveaways and replace three council members who objected." (For more on Romney's decision, see this in-depth treatment by the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Council.)
What the NYT doesn’t explain is that Limbaugh and Romney are the real nanny-state proponents. U.S. infant formula is highly concentrated with three manufacturers (Abbott, Mead Johnson, and Nestle) accounting for 98 percent of the industry’s $3.5 billion in sales. The infant formula industry is massively subsidized through the Women, Infant, Children (WIC) program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 57-68 percent of all infant formula sold in the United States by these three manufacturers was purchased through the WIC program.
Efforts like "Latch on NYC" and the Massachusetts ban vetoed by Romney would likely increase breastfeeding and reduce reliance on formula. This would be good for taxpayers who subsidize the formula market through WIC—and babies—but not for nanny-state conservatives who want to protect the profits of the big-3 infant formula manufacturers.