What Does Trump Have Against Breastfeeding? - Cortney O'Brien

Breastfeeding basics for mom and baby

The United States is disputing a newspaper report that it bullied and threatened nations in an effort to water down a World Health Assembly resolution supporting breastfeeding.

The United States pressured other countries to stop a resolution that promoted breastfeeding at the United Nations, according to the New York Times.

USA officials allegedly threatened to withhold military aid and to impose trade sanctions on that Latin American country if it did not drop the resolution. Though the US was able to get Ecuador to drop the resolution, delegates from Russian Federation later introduced it with only minor concessions made to the USA delegation's position.

Sterken says she was encouraged by how strongly many countries resisted the US bid, and she praised Canada for doing its part to champion breastfeeding initiatives. If true, it's not clear how the threats were communicated, though the Times states that an official from Ecuador claimed the U.S. Embassy in Quito was involved. The resolution was expected to pass easily, but USA delegates aimed to remove language that encouraged countries to "protect, promote and support breast-feeding" in an alleged alignment with baby formula manufacturers. Many women need this option because of malnutrition and poverty, ' he wrote on Twitter on Monday.

Health experts said the president's stance suggested a lack of knowledge about the issues. Other countries appeared hesitant to back the resolution after seeing the USA threaten Ecuador.

"The resolution as originally drafted placed unnecessary hurdles for mothers seeking to provide nutrition to their children", a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services told The Times in an email.

"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".

She attended the meeting, and said the resolution "was really just reaffirming policies that are already in place and calling on countries to implement them".

The WHO has long advocated exclusive breastfeeding until six months of age, and partial breastfeeding for up to two years or more.

The move reflected the United States government's championing of the $US70 billion ($94 billion) baby formula industry - mainly based in the U.S. and Europe.

Dr. Gretchen Goldman, research director with the Union of Concerned Scientists, concluded that the Trump administration's attempts to block the breastfeeding resolution "goes against the science and doesn't bode well for the baby food/formula industry's influence on the upcoming dietary guidelines process".

"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", Patti Rundall, a breastfeeding advocate who attended the assembly, told the Times.

Although the US and many other countries promote a "breast is best" policy, many mothers are unable to breastfeed for a variety of reasons like medical challenges, insufficient maternity leave, or inability to afford time away from work often required for exclusive breastfeeding.

The New York Times, meanwhile, published a piece that painted America as a bully.

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