Trump Administration Opposes Major Breastfeeding Resolution
10 July, 2018, 16:03 | Author: Donnie King
"What happened was tantamount to blackmail, with the U.S. holding the world hostage and trying to overturn almost 40 years of consensus on the best way to protect infant and young child health".
President Donald Trump sent out a tweet on Monday criticizing a New York Times article that said his administration pressured less wealthy countries not to propose a resolution encouraging breastfeeding.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby's life, followed by breastfeeding plus other appropriate, nutritious foods thereafter. According to the Times, the saga shows how the Trump administration backs corporations over the public good and how the Trump administration is disrupting the rules-based order.
Mothers breastfeeding their children.
A 2016 Lancet study found that universal breastfeeding would prevent 800,000 child deaths a year across the globe and yield US$300 billion in savings from reduced health care costs and improved economic outcomes for those reared on breast milk.
The US directed its ire at Ecuador when the South American nation agreed to introduce the resolution.
A mother bottle feeds her baby. While breastfeeding is ideal, anti-formula activists can be a bit radical in their support of the ideal.
Trump argues his administration supports breastfeeding but also wants women to have access to formula. It could even make formula a prescription-only product, making formula accessible only as a food of last resort. So when USA representatives launched their surprise attack, the world could only read it as open support for the $70 billion formula industry, whose sales have been tapering off.
Elisabeth Sterken, director of the Infant Feeding Action Coalition in Canada, said four decades of research have established the importance of breast milk, which provides essential nutrients as well as hormones and antibodies that protect newborns against infectious disease. Delegates from around the world debated for a few days, culminating with all member states in the room reaching consensus on a final draft. United States officials also threatened to cut World Health Organization funding. Describing radical anti-formula efforts as "encouragement of breastfeeding", as media reports did, is extremely tendentious. Trump said of his decision to withdraw from the agreement. The Department of Health and Human Services has since responded, saying the U.S delegation was advocating for a variety of feeding options because some women are unable to breastfeed.
The US delegation worked hard, but largely unsuccessfully, to water down a resolution recognizing the importance of breastfeeding for infants and working against misleading attempts to sell substitutes for a mother's milk, the Times reported, citing more than a dozen participants from various countries, many of whom requested anonymity for fear of US retaliation.
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