No, The Trump Administration Didn't Oppose Breastfeeding At WHO

Breastfeeding basics for mom and baby

Breastfeeding basics for mom and baby

The United States threatened nations in an effort to blunt a World Health Assembly resolution supporting breastfeeding this spring, The New York Times reported Sunday. However, the USA was successful in removing language that said the World Health Organization would support countries trying to stop "inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children".

Trump criticized The New York Times for reporting that USA officials sought to remove language that urged governments to protect, promote and support breastfeeding, along with language calling on policymakers to limit the promotion of food products, such as infant formula, that can be harmful to young children.

The New York Times said the USA was "embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers" and even threatened Ecuador and other countries with financial retaliation.

Eventually, the resolution was introduced by Russian Federation and subsequently approved.

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.

As part of global nutrition targets, countries who are part of the World Health Organization have vowed to increase rates of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life to at least 50 percent of mothers by 2025.

The resolution also called on world governments to crack down on marketing which says that substitute baby formulas are better and to 'protect, promote, and support breastfeeding'.

The New York Times report mirrored sweeping and unattributed claims from activist groups.

Noting that the United States position aligned with infant formula manufacturers, the paper cited the case as an example of the Trump administration siding with corporate interests on public health and environmental issues.

That's when USA imperialism elbowed in, threatening Ecuador with sanctions if it introduced the resolution. Starting infants out on a substitute in a maternity ward can make breastfeeding more hard for mothers later.

Most mothers can breastfeed, but formula is a helpful substitute for women who don't produce enough breast milk. Women's health advocates, she said, have long promoted breastfeeding-and also supported women to choose the "option to do the best for them and their babies". 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. Other nations didn't want to take it up afterwards, fearing "retaliation".

Why it matters: "Breastfeeding is one of the most cost-effective interventions for improving maternal and child health", said Georges Benjamin, executive director for the American Public Health Association, in a released statement.

A spokesperson for HHS told the Times, "We recognize not all women are able to breast-feed for a variety of reasons". The U.S. provides about 15 percent of WHO's budget, at $845 million. Of course, it is in line with the general attitude of the U.S., which has earlier opposed taxes on sugared drinks and attacked changes in licensing law proposed to deliver life-saving medicines in poor countries.