U.S. Delegates Opposed an International Resolution That Supported Breastfeeding

Posted July 11, 2018

The United States pressured other countries to stop a resolution that promoted breastfeeding at the United Nations, according to the New York Times. According to the Times, an anodyne and scientifically sound pro-breastfeeding resolution was expected to be approved easily. It said breastmilk is healthiest for children and that countries should prevent false or misleading marketing of substitutes.

Amongst other things, the resolution urges member states "to increase investment in development, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of laws, policies and programmes aimed at protection, promotion, including education and supportof breastfeeding" and "to end inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children".

And if the report is true, he said that this incident suggests that when countries do not fall in line with USA policy, "they are going to go after them and penalize them economically for doing that". There is no shortage of evidence of the tremendous health benefits that come with breastfeeding-for both the baby and the mother.

Sterken says she was encouraged by how strongly many countries resisted the US bid, and she praised Canada for doing its part to champion breastfeeding initiatives. The companies denied any wrongdoing.

Globally, just five companies-Nestle, Groupe Danone, Abbott Nutrition, Mead Johnson Nutrition, and Kraft Heinz-own 60 percent of the infant-food market, according to the market-tracking firm Future Market Insights.

The Times story, from reporter Andrew Jacobs, details how what was initially thought to be a non-controversial resolution, aimed at promoting breastfeeding, allegedly resulted in the US making threats to cut trade and withdraw some military aid from Ecuador. It was the Russians who ultimately stepped in to introduce the measure - and the Americans did not threaten them. However, according to the Times, the USA did successfully strike some language that would have provided technical support for nations seeking to stop "inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children".

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Officials from the US, Uruguay, and Mexico said that at least a dozen other countries-many of which are poor countries in Africa and Latin America-dropped the resolution after the US sucked away their interest.

"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.

Canadian breastfeeding advocates say they're stunned by an especially aggressive USA attempt to water down breastfeeding protections at a spring United Nations meeting. "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".

The US eventually relented and the resolution passed largely in its original form.

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. In addition, universal breastfeeding could save $300 billion in reduced health care costs and improved economic prospects for children.

The main concern isn't whether breastfeeding should be supplemented with formula, but what happens when formula becomes a substitute for breast milk entirely.