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12 July 2018, 06:30 | Melissa Porter
In 2007, almost 74 percent of US women said they had ever breastfed, according to results from the CDC's National Immunization Survey.
US officials fought to remove phrases calling for governments to "protect, promote and support breastfeeding" and a section calling on lawmakers to tighten regulations on the promotion of products that experts say have harmful effects on children.
American officials allegedly sought to remove the language pushing for global government support of breastfeeding practices and attacked countries that were in favour of it.
But then the United States stepped in and took the side of infant formula manufacturers.
Why it matters: "Breastfeeding is one of the most cost-effective interventions for improving maternal and child health", said Georges Benjamin, executive director for the American Public Health Association, in a released statement. "There are things we should do because they're right thing to do, not because we get something out of it, and this [promoting breast feeding] is the right thing to do", he said.
Breastfeeding has always been touted as the preferred source of food for infants, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agreeing that babies who are breastfed have reduced risks of asthma, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, ear and respiratory infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
"A mother's love is universal, but a mother's milk belongs exclusively to her own babies", says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk.
"...[I] t turns out that global health resolution was just one of a few battlefronts in Trump's fight against policies that support breastfeeding, as the administration increasingly aligns itself with the USA infant formula industry. Many women need this option because of malnutrition and poverty", Trump tweeted.
NPR could not independently confirm that the US threatened Ecuador or any other country over this resolution.
The US State Department has refused to comment on the report. The effort failed, but the US delegation was accused of favoring the interests of formula companies over the health of children when it objected to that seemingly mild language as well as restrictions on marketing breast-milk substitutes to mothers. Utah reported the highest breastfeeding rate - 94 percent - while just over half of MS mothers said they had tried to breastfeed their children. The U.S. also unsuccessful lobbied to stop a World Health Organization initiative to give life-saving medicine to poor countries, siding with the pharmaceutical industry's intellectual property concerns. The Department of Health and Human Services, however, defended its decision to reword the resolution.
"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.
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