What to know about infant feeding guidelines, as United States opposes breastfeeding resolution

Breastfeeding basics for mom and baby

The resolution was ultimately approved even in the face of US opposition, but the Trump administration successfully stripped out language that called for the World Health Organization to support nations working to crack down on "inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children". Ecuador, which had planned to introduce the measure, was the first to find itself in the cross hairs. The resolution, which was based on decades of scientific research, encouraged countries to limit false or deceptive advertising of breast milk substitutes, and called on governments to publicly support breastfeeding. Just one portion, calling on the World Health Organization to provide support to member states seeking to halt "inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children", was removed. These are situations during which it has been common to solicit formula donations for the affected countries, says Maaike Arts, an early childhood nutrition specialist with UNICEF. In the mother, breastfeeding decreases the risk of cancer, cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes, among many others.

"And now the U.S. Gov is against breastfeeding in favor of formula companies", a DailyKos story blared. The companies denied any wrongdoing. Nevertheless, formula is still an estimated $47 billion global industry, according to Euromonitor, and has been growing steadily. When that largely failed, the USA turned to threats-demanding that Ecuador's delegation refrain from introducing the bill as planned or be targeted with trade measures and cuts to military aid, the Times reports. This included threatening one country, Ecuador, with removing military help against gangs and altering trade deals.

The pro-breastfeeding resolution would pass as drafted - the US objections were unsuccessful - and The Times suggested it was due to the actions of "the Russians". 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".

Eventually, it was Russian Federation that made a decision to introduce the measure.

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

HHS spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley said in a statement responding to the account of the resolution that the U.S. "has a long history of supporting mothers and breastfeeding around the world and is the largest bilateral donor of such foreign assistance programs".

The State Department declined to respond to questions, saying it could not discuss private diplomatic conversations.

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News.

The WHO has long advocated exclusive breastfeeding until six months of age, and partial breastfeeding for up to two years or more.

A 2016 study by The Lancet found that breastfeeding could save 80,000 child deaths a year across the globe.

"Many women are not able to breastfeed for a variety of reasons, these women should not be stigmatized", Oakley added in the statement. Among the myriad issues discussed at these annual meetings are policies and initiatives related to infant nutrition, breastfeeding, and breast milk substitutes, topics that gained prominence in the Assembly in the 1980s.

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