What to know about infant feeding guidelines, as U.S. opposes breastfeeding resolution

Ric Francis via ZUMA

Ric Francis via ZUMA

The U.S. strongly supports breast feeding but we don't believe a woman should be denied access to formula. But delegates instead threatened retaliatory trade measures on Ecuador if they refused to drop the resolution, according to the report.

At a recent gathering of the World Health Assembly, the forum through which the World Health Organization governs and makes health recommendations, U.S. delegates caused a stir when they attempted to dissuade delegates from Ecuador from sponsoring a resolution to encourage breastfeeding. But Russia rescued the resolution by stepping in and introducing it. But the USA insisted on removing language calling on the World Health Organization to offer technical support to officials trying to stop "inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children", according to the Times.

Trump has reportedly demonstrated his disgust for breastfeeding-or even the specter of breastfeeding-before: A lawyer said Trump had an "absolute meltdown" when she requested a break to pump breast milk and called her disgusting. These decisions are made more fraught by hypertargeted digital marketing about nursing and all the other hot debates-whether to vaccinate a child or not, to medicate them for ADHD and the many other questions for which there is no one answer. "They should be equally supported with information and access to alternatives for the health of themselves and their babies".

Of course, if ratified, the industry would shrink like an unmilked breast (fun fact: the free formula sample bag given in many hospitals includes an ice-pack to help stop milk flow in new mothers).

For instance, "mothers who must return to work shortly postpartum face enormous challenges in establishing lactation and continuing to breastfeed as recommended", she said.

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

According to 2016 Lancet study cited in the Times report, universal breastfeeding would prevent 800,000 child deaths across the world every year, as well as yield $300 billion in savings from reduced health care costs. "Many women need this option because of malnutrition and poverty", Trump said. The US has denied allegations it threatened any country during negotiations.


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

NPR could not independently confirm that the US threatened Ecuador or any other country over this resolution.

Aware of this growing aggressiveness, World Health Organization tried to get agreement for a standard resolution to promote breastfeeding in member countries and to continue to limit false advertising of the formula monopolies. Millions of infants have safely consumed formula for decades.

"A major risk of formula feeding in low-income settings is that the formula is available without the other safety precautions", Palmquist said.

But the popularity of breastfeeding can cut into sales of infant formula manufacturers, and companies who produce formula have a long history of interfering in worldwide affairs to promote formula over breastfeeding at the expense of infant health.

Critics slammed back at Trump, the Independent reported. "It is also bad for the multibillion-dollar global infant formula (and dairy) business". Perez-Escamilla is also a scientific adviser to World Health Organization on the topic of breastfeeding.

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