Trump Slams NYT For Critical Article On US Stance on Breastfeeding

Clay Curtis
July 10, 2018

At first, the USA delegates attempted to simply dilute the pro-breastmilk message, voiding language that called for governments to "protect, promote, and support breastfeeding" and limit promotion of competing baby food products that experts warn can be harmful.

US President Donald Trump has previously expressed repugnance at the act of breastfeeding.

The threats reportedly occurred in May at the United Nations -affiliated World Health Assembly in Geneva.

When contacted for a comment, the Department of Health and Human Services said the USA stance was in support of mothers who can not breast-feed for various reasons.

The Times reported yesterday that the U.S.

Patti Rundall, the policy director of the British advocacy group Baby Milk Action, said she was "appalled and also saddened" by the USA government's alleged threats.

"The resolution as originally drafted placed unnecessary hurdles for mothers seeking to provide nutrition to their children", an HHS spokesperson told the Times.

An Ecuadorian official said that his government did not anticipate the harshness of America's response. Other countries appeared hesitant to back the resolution after seeing the USA threaten Ecuador.

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The US State Department has refused to comment on the report. "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", Caitlin Oakley said in a statement to The Hill.

A 2016 study published by The Lancet says breastfeeding could save the lives of 823,000 children and 20,000 mothers each year.

In the end, the US's effort to dash the World Health Organization resolution encouraging breastfeeding was largely unsuccessful.

Companies that sell baby formula generate $70billion annually, but those sales have been stagnant due to the increased popularity of breastfeeding.

Though high quality, safely prepared substitutes can provide adequate nutrition for infants, emphasis on breastfeeding stretches back through decades of concern from health experts and officials that milk-substitute makers were causing harm with their marketing strategies. Washington is the single largest contributor to the health organisation, providing US$845 million, or roughly 15 per cent of its budget, last year.

On social media, some pointed to the report as the latest evidence of the Trump administration's top priority-serving corporate interests, even at the expense of public health.

"We're not trying to be a hero here, but we feel that it is wrong when a big country tries to push around some very small countries" - a Russian delegate to the UN. Trump said of his decision to withdraw from the agreement.

The resolution ultimately passed in a compromised form, removing language that called on the World Health Organization to support countries trying to stop "inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children".

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