Trump blasts 'failing NY Times' over report on 'opposition' to breastfeeding measure

Adjust Comment Print

President Trump rejected accusations on Monday from a New York Times report that said the US worked against a breastfeeding amendment at the World Health Assembly.

Health and Human Services spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley also described as "patently false" attempts to portray the USA position as anti-breastfeeding. "It simply reflects the fact that corporate sales are more important to the USA administration than the well-being of women and children", said Cesar Victora, a specialist in child health and nutrition in Brazil.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby's life, followed by breastfeeding plus other appropriate, nutritious foods thereafter.

So why was the United States so reluctant to ratify a UN resolution on promoting breastfeeding worldwide and limiting advertisements for baby formula?

"The issues being debated were not about whether one supports breastfeeding", HHS spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley said in a statement.

The U.S. threatened to withdraw military aid and engage in punitive trade tactics with Ecuador after it introduced the breastfeeding resolution at the World Health Assembly, the Times reported.

Somehow things escalated from there into the US threatening Ecuador--the nation that was introducing the resolution--with "punishing trade measures".

The resolution sought to curb false advertisement of breast milk substitutes as better options and asked governments to publicly encourage breastfeeding, which has been proven to be healthier for the child's growth.

For their part, the U.S. delegates have said that it wasn't corporations' best interests they had in mind, but that they were instead trying to fight against "stigmatizing" women who choose to formula feed. While the sales of baby formula have been flat in the West over the last few years, they were on the rise in developing countries.

More news: Trump Says Ireland Agrees with Him On Immigration
More news: Lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels says she was arrested
More news: US President Donald Trump arrives in United Kingdom for four-day visit

'The resolution as originally drafted placed unnecessary hurdles for mothers seeking to provide nutrition to their children, ' an H.H.S. spokesman said.

But in the US, disparities in race, income and geography underscore the work that's left to do to support USA mothers who want to give their infants breastmilk. Millions of infants have safely consumed formula for decades.

The booklet states that companies that have policies that support nursing mothers also gain from lower turnover rates and higher productivity.

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

The Trump administration's reported attempt to block an global measure promoting breastfeeding could make it appear breastfeeding is under attack.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency involved in modifying the resolution, told theTimes the agency wasn't involved in threats to other countries.

"Women who turn to formula may work for employers who won't guarantee paid family leave or time to pump", she added. Perez-Escamilla is also a scientific adviser to World Health Organization on the topic of breastfeeding. The small number of giants that produce it are concentrated in the US and Europe.

At the World Health Assembly in Geneva this spring, officials expected a major resolution encouraging breastfeeding worldwide to easily receive enough votes from government delegates to pass - until the Trump administration opposed it.