Medical

Trump Administration Bullied Countries To Make Them Reject The Science On Breastfeeding

Trump Administration Bullied Countries To Make Them Reject The Science On Breastfeeding

Recent media coverage has turned the World Health Assembly Resolution on Infant and Young Child Feeding into a political debate about breastfeeding vs formula feeding, rather than the public health issue at hand: access to proper information and nutrition education for parents of children up to three years of age. In a booklet published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2008, and still available online, government officials listed multiple benefits for employers that support breastfeeding mothers and their partners.

"Ecuador always endorsed all resolutions on breastfeeding that have been adopted in the past in the framework of the World Health Organization (WHO), the last, last month of May, was approved by consensus and had the support of the delegation Ecuadorian meeting".

Health experts recommend breast milk as the exclusive food for babies in their first six months.

The original WHO resolution "does not in any way 'deny access to infant formula, ' " said Aunchalee Palmquist, an assistant professor in the Department of Maternal and Child Health and the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It was only when Russian Federation introduced the resolution that American officials backed off.

A spokesperson for HHS told the Times, "We recognize not all women are able to breast-feed for a variety of reasons".

Additionally, a study in The Lancet found that universal breastfeeding could prevent 800,000 child deaths per year. "Many women need this option because of malnutrition and poverty". Most of the sources requested anonymity because they feared retaliation from USA officials.

"A breastfeeding mother must pump her milk as often as the baby usually eats", writes the United States Breastfeeding Committee, a nonprofit based in Chicago.

This spring at the World Health Assembly, the United States fought a resolution to encourage breast-feeding, according to a new report by the New York Times.

"What the World Health Organization is trying to do is help women achieve their own breastfeeding goals, and unfortunately those goals conflict with goals of the dairy industry", Stuebe said. "Even though I've argued with United States politicians and they say it didn't happen, it definitely happened", she said. It only sought for regulations on infant formula manufacturers so that they won't lie to the public and to emphasize on the importance and proven benefits of breastfeeding. The main problem is that in countries where safe drinking water is hard to obtain, mixing dry formula with local water can provoke diarrhea or other illnesses that kill babies.

"The formula industry is a multi-billion dollar industry", said Sullivan.

Lucy Sullivan, the executive director of 1,000 Days, which promotes nutrition for children and women, told NPR that she does not agree the text would have reduced access to formula.

The main concern isn't whether breastfeeding should be supplemented with formula, but what happens when formula becomes a substitute for breast milk entirely. When Ecuador backed off - after all, no small country likes to be in Washington's gun sights - the US threatened any other country that might want to introduce it.

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.

Many American women agree, saying the cultural mandate to breastfeed no matter their personal circumstances and zealous hospital lactation programs is another example of how women's bodies are not their own to manage.