Trump denies U.S. opposition to World Health Organization breastfeeding resolution

Trump denies U.S. opposition to World Health Organization breastfeeding resolution

Elisabeth Sterken of the Infant Feeding Action Coalition in Canada says she was among the official observers in Geneva when a US delegation took issue with various proposals that included marketing restrictions on breast milk substitutes. However, the USA weighed in, siding with the infant formula manufacturers, so much so, they threatened Ecuador with a trade war over opposition, according to a New York Times report.

A front-page New York Times article claimed that, at a World Health Assembly in May, the United States opposed a resolution to encourage breastfeeding. Ecuador had planned to introduce the breast-feeding resolution, according to the Times.

At the United Nations World Health Assembly this spring officials from the United States held up a resolution created to promote breastfeeding by attempting to remove specific language according to The New York Times.

"The failing NY Times Fake News story today about breast feeding must be called out". But then the delegation from the United States threw a wrench into things.

"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".

Breast milk can change to meet a child's needs.

Oakley said, "The issues being debated were not about whether one supports breastfeeding".

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A law that has been on the books for more than 20 years says that a mother is entitled to breastfeed her baby pretty much anywhere - as long as she's not trespassing.

Health advocates scrambled to find another sponsor for the resolution, but at least a dozen countries, a lot of them poor nations in Africa and Latin America, backed off, citing fears of retaliation, according to officials from Uruguay, Mexico and the United States.

In an email to the Times, the Department of Health and Human Services, which led the charge to make the modifications, said the original resolution "placed unnecessary hurdles for mothers seeking to provide nutrition to their children". Most of the sources requested anonymity because they feared retaliation from USA officials.

They also sought to hinder World Health Organization efforts to provide lifesaving medications to undeveloped countries.

Those risks include creating the formula precisely as instructed, storing it safely and cleaning and sanitizing bottles so the infant doesn't get sick.

Despite having one of the lowest breastfeeding initiation rates among industrialized countries - it ranked 26th, according to the latest available data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development - breastfeeding rates in the USA improved nationwide and in almost every state between 2007 and 2016, according to the latest available CDC data. "Neither is the availability of infant formula", said Sullivan. "The Trump administration takes a bold stance against mother's milk", a New Republic headline read.

Infant formula represents a huge global market - worth $47 billion in 2015 - with emerging markets accounting for most of the current growth. Breastfeeding rates vary by country, but two out of three infants worldwide are not breastfed for the recommended six months and this rate has not improved in several decades, according to a WHO, UNICEF and International Baby Food Action Network report from 2016. Perez-Escamilla is also a scientific adviser to World Health Organization on the topic of breastfeeding.