February 18, 2019

US Stance on Breastfeeding Resolution Questioned

12 July 2018, 06:27 | Randall Craig

US tries to bully WHO into dropping breast-feeding resolution

Trump administration threatened Ecuador over its support of breastfeeding resolution

When this failed, the Times reported that USA delegates turned to threats.

"The New York Times reported that the U.S. attempted to "water down" the wording of the resolution, focusing on two passages, the article said: "one requiring that countries "'protect, promote and support breast-feeding, '" and another that would place restrictions on companies selling baby formula that is, according to health officials, harmful.

The resolution was aimed at limiting "inaccurate or misleading marketing of formula", and encouraging breastfeeding support in all countries.

The news report has garnered strong reaction from the US government. Proponents of the resolutions then struggled to find a new sponsor, as more than a dozen countries feared retaliation.

American officials allegedly sought to remove the language pushing for global government support of breastfeeding practices and attacked countries that were in favour of it.

The Trump administration appeared to side with companies manufacturing infant formulas whose sales are threatened by women breastfeeding their newborns. These decisions are made more fraught by hypertargeted digital marketing about nursing and all the other hot debates-whether to vaccinate a child or not, to medicate them for ADHD and the many other questions for which there is no one answer.

Health officials who had advocated for the resolution in favor of breast milk were shocked, they said.

Although formula feeding is a great option for mothers who can't breastfeed, current medical literature strongly supports breastfeeding for mothers and babies. "We feel that it is wrong when a big country tries to push around some very small countries, especially on an issue that is really important for the rest of the world", a Russian delegate told the Times.

Mr. Trump said the country "strongly supports" breastfeeding, but the issue the USA representatives had was with denying access to formula.

Met with resistance from nations around the table, US delegates began threatening, according to other officials at the summit.

"A mother's love is universal, but a mother's milk belongs exclusively to her own babies", says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk.

"We all started talking about it at the conference", said Dr. Mitchell.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency involved in modifying the resolution, told The Times the agency wasn't involved in the threatening of other countries. "The United States was fighting to protect women's abilities to make the best choices for the nutrition of their babies".

"The Trump Administration believes it's a public health priority that women and their families have all the information to decide how to appropriately deliver nutrition to their children, whether it is via breastfeeding or other methods", an HHS spokesman said.

The State Department official said the United States works "to identify common cause when possible and does not shy away from expressing its disagreement when necessary". It touted the benefits of breastfeeding in its response, saying that it estimates that about 820,000 child lives would be saved every year if all infants under the age of six months were breastfed.

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