US’ Opposition Of Breastfeeding Resolution Shocks Health Officials

Bloomberg via Getty Images

A spokesperson for the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) told the Times that USA delegates objected to the resolution because it placed "unnecessary hurdles" in front of women who choose not to breastfeed, and "stigmatizes" formula-feeding-a claim physicians rejected on social media.

The New York Times reported using anonymous sources that the US had even threatened some countries that supported the resolution with punitive actions if they didn't withdraw support. On July 8, The New York Times reported the Trump administration opposed a breastfeeding policy Ecuador planned to introduce during the World Health Assembly.

However, the USA stopped short of going after Russian Federation, which in the end stepped in to introduce the resolution.

According to a Sunday New York Times scoop, the President Donald Trump's delegation to the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly recently bullied smaller, less wealthy nations in an ultimately failed effort to crush a resolution urging mothers to breastfeed infants.

'The failing NY Times Fake News story today about breast feeding must be called out.

These days, the United States is on the outside looking in when it comes to global consensus on many things: Climate change, the Iran deal, and breastfeeding.

"We recognize not all women are able to breastfeed for a variety of reasons", it added, saying they should have "full information about safe alternatives".

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"If all infants under the age of six months were exclusively breastfed, we estimate that about 820,000 child lives would be saved every year", he said. Among the myriad issues discussed at these annual meetings are policies and initiatives related to infant nutrition, breastfeeding, and breast milk substitutes, topics that gained prominence in the Assembly in the 1980s.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding as other foods are introduced, for up to a year or longer, depending on the wishes of the mother and child. But the USA reportedly threatened the country with punitive trade measures and a cut to military aid if it did not drop the proposal. Although they know it's a lie, they claim their product is more healthful than breast milk from the mother. They were the only country to vote against it in 1981. These are situations during which it has been common to solicit formula donations for the affected countries, says Maaike Arts, an early childhood nutrition specialist with UNICEF.

With more mothers in developed nations turning to breastfeeding, the Third World is regarded as a potential growth market for infant formula companies.

At first, the USA delegation tried to just water down the language in the resolution, but when that didn't work, they began to threaten and bully countries who were supporting the resolution.

The Times characterized the dispute at the World Health Assembly as "the latest example of the Trump administration siding with corporate interests on numerous public health and environmental issues".

"The existence of infant formula is not in question here".

"Breastfeeding also reduces the risk that mothers will become impoverished by their dependence on formula to feed their infants; formula is expensive and not always available to families in low-income settings", she said. Perez-Escamilla is also a scientific adviser to World Health Organization on the topic of breastfeeding.

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