Health Care

Trump administration threatened tiny nation over breastfeeding

Trump administration threatened tiny nation over breastfeeding”

Health and Human Services spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley also described as "patently false" attempts to portray the USA position as anti-breastfeeding.

According to the report, the delegation fought against elements in the resolution that would have demanded member states "protect, promote and support breast-feeding" and restrict potentially risky infant foods. Rather, the battle centered on a resolution stating that "mother's milk is healthiest for children and countries should strive to limit the inaccurate or misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes", The Times reports.

Nevertheless, Michelle Pensa Branco of the charity Safely Fed Canada called on the federal government to step up breastfeeding support in light of the controversy. On July 8, The New York Times reported the Trump administration opposed a breastfeeding policy Ecuador planned to introduce during the World Health Assembly.

American officials allegedly sought to remove the language pushing for global government support of breastfeeding practices and attacked countries that were in favour of it.

Noting that the USA 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. Among the myriad issues discussed at these annual meetings are policies and initiatives related to infant nutrition, breastfeeding, and breast milk substitutes, topics that gained prominence in the Assembly in the 1980s. It said, "The Americans did not threaten them". When breastfeeding mothers feed their babies exclusively with formula, they quickly stop producing breast milk, making it impossible to revert back.

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

She says health leaders worry that as long as the formula industry is trying to make money, there is a change for false health information to be spread.

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US officials allegedly threatened to withhold military aid and to impose trade sanctions on that Latin American country if it did not drop the resolution.

Research has shown that mother's milk contains far more nutrients that are necessary for a baby's health than infant formula.

"...[I] t turns out that global health resolution was just one of a few battlefronts in Trump's fight against policies that support breastfeeding, as the administration increasingly aligns itself with the US infant formula industry. Many woman need this option because of malnutrition and poverty".

"The resolution as originally drafted placed unnecessary hurdles for mothers seeking to provide nutrition to their children", an HHS spokesman said in the email to the Times.

The US State Department has refused to comment on the report.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services said to CNN, "The issues being debated were not about whether one supports breastfeeding". It touted the benefits of breastfeeding in its response, saying that it estimates that about 820,000 child lives would be saved every year if all infants under the age of six months were breastfed.



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