Trump says U.S. had opposed formula limits, not breastfeeding

Brittany Mendoza
July 14, 2018

The resolution that was unanimously adopted by the World Health Assembly, and supported by the USA delegation, clearly stated its aim to support, protect and promote breastfeeding and good nutrition for infants and young children based on effective, evidenced based interventions.

President Trump tweeted that it is a "Fake News story" that "must be called out".

Ecuador's Health Minister Veronica Espinosa said her country had fought for passage of the resolution and "did not give in to private or commercial interests, or any other form of pressure". For one, they wrote, breastfeeding mothers miss work less often because breastfed infants are healthier, which government officials say also translates into lower health care costs.

Despite the controversy, in the medical world, breastfeeding is not such a contentious topic.

Aware of these problems, the World Health Organization has tried to limit the use of formula, especially in poorer countries around the globe.

Breast milk is better than formula and reduces infant mortality and morbidity. Such practices eliminate the risk of mixing formula with contaminated water.

As we've seen in the debates over abortion or plastic surgery or pregnancy nutrition, everyone has an opinion about what women should and should not do with their bodies-even if they don't inhabit a female body themselves. In more recent years, Gertler told me, the annual death told has dropped to around 25,000, driven by improved access to clean water in the southern hemisphere.

"Breast is best, there is nothing natural about giving human babies milk that is meant for baby cows. They may also not have the support of skilled breastfeeding counselors and other health care providers who can assist them with breastfeeding difficulties".

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Though high quality, safely prepared substitutes can provide adequate nutrition for infants, emphasis on breastfeeding stretches back through decades of concern from health experts and officials that milk-substitute makers were causing harm with their marketing strategies.

Although the USA and many other countries promote a "breast is best" policy, many mothers are unable to breastfeed for a variety of reasons like medical challenges, insufficient maternity leave, or inability to afford time away from work often required for exclusive breastfeeding.

"These women should have the choice and access to alternatives for the health of their babies, and not be stigmatized for the ways in which they are able to do so", a spokesperson said in an email. Overall, global sales are expected to rise by 4 per cent in 2018, according to Euromonitor, with most of that growth occurring in developing nations. It is still worth United States dollars 70 billion annually.

Trump hit out at the Times article while saying the United States was committed to ensuring women are not "denied" formula.

The State Department wouldn't comment to the Times on the issue, claiming it can not discuss private diplomatic discussions.

"The formula industry is a multi-billion dollar industry", said Sullivan. Abbott, Mead Johnson, and Nestlé all have robust Washington, DC. lobbying operations.

"An employee must have the same freedom to address such lactation-related needs that she and her co-workers would have to address other similarly limiting medical conditions", says the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC.

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