There’s a new report that says health officials have been left shocked by the U.S.’s opposition to a breastfeeding resolution. Even though more and more mothers have been campaigning for more breastfeeding awareness – along with better public facilities for breastfeeding moms – it looks as though the government has different priorities.
The New York Times reports that a resolution to encourage breastfeeding was expected to pass at the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly this past week. Unfortunately, The United States was the only country to oppose the resolution.
The New York Times says that the United States wanted to remove language that called on governments to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. In addition, the government also wanted to remove a passage calling for the restriction of any food products that may have deleterious effects on small children. Some critics believe that the United States might have made this move simply to protect the interests of infant formula manufacturers.
In addition, the report says that Ecuador – which was the first country that planned to introduce the resolution – was apparently discouraged to continue with the plan. This was because of rumored “punishing trade measures” and the removal of military aid from the United States.
Many health experts agree that breastfeeding is vital to a child’s lifelong health, and reduces costs for health facilities, families, and governments. In addition, a mother breastfeeding her baby within the first hour of birth protects newborn babies from infections. Children who aren’t breastfed are at a greater risk of death due to diarrhea or other infections after childbirth. If that weren’t enough, breastfeeding also helps improve IQ, school readiness and attendance and is associated with higher income later in life.
More than 12 individuals from several countries confirmed the United States’ refusal to cooperate with the resolution to The New York Times. But many of the sources requested to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation from President Donald Trump’s administration. Russia was the lone country to take on the task of sponsoring the resolution after Ecuador dropped it. The publication notes that Russia was not threated by U.S. officials.
So far representatives from the U.S. have not made any comments about the report.