Canadian breastfeeding advocates alarmed by USA opposition to United Nations resolution

A Chinese mother breastfeeds her baby in Wuhan

Experts have linked breastfeeding to many health benefits because of the disease-fighting antibodies it offers babies.

World Health Organization representatives when those initiatives were first introduced by a delegation from Ecuador, the New York Times reported on 8 July 2018. At first, the United States delegates attempted to simply dilute the pro-breastmilk message, voiding language that called for governments to "protect, promote, and support breastfeeding" and limit promotion of competing baby food products that experts warn can be harmful.

When that failed, they turned to threats, according to diplomats and government officials who took part in the discussions. Ecuador, which had planned to introduce the measure, was the first to find itself in the cross hairs.

The administration told Ecuador that if it did not pull its resolution, it would respond by cutting military aid and adopting harsh, retaliatory trade measures.

An Ecuadorian official said that his government did not anticipate the harshness of America's response.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency involved in modifying the resolution, told The Times the agency wasn't involved in the threatening of other countries.

"We recognise not all women are able to breastfeed for a variety of reasons".

While Ecuador had plans to introduce the initiative, the country later chose to drop it after the US reportedly issued threats of economic retaliation.

A common argument promoted by the breast milk substitute industry frames the issue as one of access and choice. It said breastmilk is healthiest for children and that countries should prevent false or misleading marketing of substitutes.

The $70 billion industry, which is dominated by a handful of American and European companies, has seen sales flatten in wealthy countries in recent years, as more women embrace breast-feeding.

The worldwide infant formula industry, worth $70 billion, is dominated by USA and European countries and has faced plateauing revenue in the developed world in recent years as awareness about the benefits of breast-feeding spreads.

The Trump administration's slavish devotion to corporate profits and their contempt for the health and well-being of Americans and people throughout the world is beyond appalling.

Vanity Fair said the US delegation's move was proof that it values "profits over health and bulls*** over facts", defining our representatives as "thugs".

They also sought to hinder World Health Organization efforts to provide lifesaving medications to undeveloped countries.

But, at a gathering in Geneva this spring, the US made a forceful case to defend the interests of manufacturers of breast milk substitutes.

Health advocates sought to find another sponsor for the resolution, the Times reported, and Russian Federation eventually introduced the measure without threats from the U.S.

The issue stemmed around the wording of a new resolution that sought to promote breastfeeding.

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