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Trump Administration Opposed Global Pro-Breastfeeding Resolution (Until Russia Sponsored It)

13 July 2018

With the financial interests of infant-formula manufacturers as its purported motivation, the USA delegation at a meeting of the United Nations -affiliated World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva in May tried to weaken a widely supported resolution calling for governments to support breast-feeding, the New York Times' Andrew Jacobs reports.

According to a now-viral report from The New York Times, American delegates took issue with a number of clauses in the breastfeeding recommendations, and threatened to impose trade measures and withdraw military aid if Ecuador refused to eliminate certain passages from the resolution.

The Times reported Sunday that USA officials turned to threats in an effort to throw cold water on a WHA resolution holding that breastfeeding is the healthiest option for young children and pushes countries to limit the spread of inaccurate information about breast milk substitutes.

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

"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.

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"If all infants under the age of six months were exclusively breastfed, we estimate that about 820,000 child lives would be saved every year", he said. "They may also not have the support of skilled breastfeeding counselors and other health care providers who can assist them with breastfeeding difficulties".

A 2016 study by The Lancet, one of the world's most prestigious medical journals, found breastfeeding could prevent 80,000 child deaths a year globally.

A law that has been on the books for more than 20 years says that a mother is entitled to breastfeed her baby pretty much anywhere - as long as she's not trespassing. Although they know it's a lie, they claim their product is more healthful than breast milk from the mother.

The Americans did not threaten Moscow as they did Ecuador and other countries, according to the Times.

"The issues being debated were not about whether one supports breastfeeding", Caitlin Oakley, national spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement.

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Those risks include creating the formula precisely as instructed, storing it safely and cleaning and sanitizing bottles so the infant doesn't get sick. "Neither is the availability of infant formula", said Sullivan.

News of the combative approach within the World Health Assembly mirrored the Trump administration's posture toward other key worldwide bodies.

With more mothers in developed nations turning to breastfeeding, the Third World is regarded as a potential growth market for infant formula companies. The World Health Assembly's concern about misleading promotion of infant formula is also grounded in fact. Perez-Escamilla is also a scientific adviser to World Health Organization on the topic of breastfeeding.

Caitlin Oakley, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, told Newsweek in an emailed statement, "Recent reporting attempts to portray the us position at the recent World Health Assembly as "anti-breastfeeding" are patently false".

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Trump Administration Opposed Global Pro-Breastfeeding Resolution (Until Russia Sponsored It)