Trump administration threatened tiny nation over breastfeeding

Leslie Hanson
July 12, 2018

President Donald Trump weighed in Monday to defend women's "access" to formula milk, after an article accused the United States of seeking to torpedo a World Health Organization resolution on breastfeeding.

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 Times reported that the USA delegation threatened other nations, by suggesting that the US would implement trade measures with the objective of punishing them, citing more than a dozen participants from several of the countries present.

But the Russian delegation eventually stepped in and introduced the measure without any threats from the American officials, the Times reports.

The primary scientific issue according to WHO, backed by a fairly broad scientific consensus, is that infants fed exclusively on breast milk for the first six months of their life face improved health outcomes.

Other media outlets picked up the story of the Trump administration versus breastfeeding mothers.

The measure was expected to be introduced by Ecuador.


We're told the USA threatened Ecuador with punishing trade measures and the removal of military aid. The Ecuadorean government quickly acquiesced.

"Many women are not able to breastfeed for a variety of reasons, these women should not be stigmatized; they should be equally supported with information and access to alternatives for the health of themselves and their babies", Oakley said. It said breastmilk is healthiest for children and that countries should prevent false or misleading marketing of substitutes. Infant formula companies "use aggressive, clandestine and often illegal methods to target mothers in the poorest parts of the world to encourage them to choose powdered milk over breastfeeding", the report said.

Although the USA 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.

But baby formula represents a huge global market - worth $47 billion in 2015, according to Euromonitor International - dominated by a handful of groups, several of them American, with emerging markets accounting for most current growth. Their sales have increased, however, in developing countries. The editors then again accused the Trump administration of siding with "corporate interests".

The U.S. stance on the health issue was enough to draw heated reaction from a number of progressive-leaning websites.

At the same assembly, USA leaders sided with the pharmaceutical industry and fought unsuccessfully against an effort to help poor countries get access to lifesaving medications. This is why the Infant Nutrition Council of America supports the final World Health Assembly resolution, which acknowledges the need for a sound science and evidence-based approach to infant and young child nutrition, and clearly supports and promotes the benefits of breastfeeding.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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