Trump blasts 'failing NY Times' over report on 'opposition' to breastfeeding measure

Desiree Burns
July 12, 2018

When Ecuador backed off - after all, no small country likes to be in Washington's gun sights - the US threatened any other country that might want to introduce it.

Why are we talking about this?

The resolution at the World Health Assembly in Geneva in May was aimed at promoting breastfeeding.

President Donald Trump went after the New York Times today over a report on the United States' opposition to a U.N. resolution on breast-feeding. But when that failed, the USA reportedly put the squeeze on countries backing the resolution by making aggressive trade and military threats-a move that further stunned the assembly.

Eventually, Russia introduced the resolution, and the U.S. was unable to blunt the measure, although its delegation successfully struck language calling for the worldwide health body to provide technical support for nations seeking to stop "inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children", and added the phrase "evidence based" to certain provisions, the Times reported. "Many women need this option because of malnutrition and poverty".

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. In those extreme cases, access to formula should be provided. Universal adoption of breastfeeding in low- and middle-income countries could prevent the death of an estimated 823,000 children under two years old, according to a study by the Australian National University. It can also help maternal health.

Where does the US stand? Formula makers have turned their attention to marketing their products in developing countries in recent years, as breastfeeding has grown more popular in wealthy nations. She attended the meeting, and said the resolution "was really just reaffirming policies that are already in place and calling on countries to implement them".

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However, a small glimpse of the interview was used in a segment aired on Dutch TV channel NTR, seen below around the 3:56 mark. During the talk, Targlaski looks nearly unfazed by the cat on his shoulders.

The newspaper said more than a dozen participants from different countries at the assembly confirmed the "showdown over the issue".

At the conference, Ecuador sponsored a proposal that recognized mother's milk as the healthiest option for nursing newborns. Three states - Vermont, Washington and Tennessee - slipped slightly.

She says a prolonged debate eventually resulted in a watered-down resolution that effectively undermined long-standing efforts to support mother's milk. The Ecuadorian delegates acquiesced, and health advocates struggled to find another sponsor for the resolution. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants should be fed breast milk exclusively for the first six months after birth.

Some places in the US have spearheaded their own efforts to improve breastfeeding rates.

Aware of this growing aggressiveness, World Health Organization tried to get agreement for a standard resolution to promote breastfeeding in member countries and to continue to limit false advertising of the formula monopolies.

Catherine D'Ignazio, who founded the hackathon event in 2014, said the reality is that many people still "don't have access to making that choice" to breastfeed.

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