The Trump administration once again put corporate profits over public health when American delegates at the World Health Assembly bullied other nations into dropping a pro-breastfeeding resolution. Only when Russia stepped in to introduce it did Trump’s people back off.
For decades, research has shown that breastfeeding is beneficial to mothers and their babies.
According to WebMD:
“Breast milk provides the ideal nutrition for infants. It has a nearly perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fat — everything your baby needs to grow. And it’s all provided in a form more easily digested than infant formula. Breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria. Breastfeeding lowers your baby’s risk of having asthma or allergies. Plus, babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months, without any formula, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea. They also have fewer hospitalizations and trips to the doctor.
“Breastfeeding has been linked to higher IQ scores in later childhood in some studies. What’s more, the physical closeness, skin-to-skin touching, and eye contact all help your baby bond with you and feel secure. Breastfed infants are more likely to gain the right amount of weight as they grow rather than become overweight children…[B]reastfeeding also plays a role in the prevention of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). It’s been thought to lower the risk of diabetes, obesity, and certain cancers as well, but more research is needed.”
Breastfeeding also lowers the risk of cancer and osteoporosis in women.
But when Ecuador and other nations attempted to introduce a resolution in support of breastfeeding that would also urge lawmakers around the world to restrict products that have a negative impact on the health of infants, the American delegation immediately jumped to the defense to the baby formula industry and tried to weaken it. And when that didn’t work, Trump’s goons resorted to making threats to force other nations to back down.
According to The New York Times:
“American officials sought to water down the resolution by removing language that called on governments to ‘protect, promote and support breast-feeding’ and another passage that called on policymakers to restrict the promotion of food products that many experts say can have deleterious effects on young children.
“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 Americans were blunt: If Ecuador refused to drop the resolution, Washington would unleash punishing trade measures and withdraw crucial military aid. The Ecuadorean government quickly acquiesced.”
Other nations, particularly poorer nations that can’t afford to lose American aid, also backed down.
“We were astonished, appalled and also saddened,” Baby Milk Action policy director Patty Rundall said. “What happened was tantamount to blackmail, with the U.S. holding the world hostage and trying to overturn nearly 40 years of consensus on the best ways to protect infant and young child health.”
But when Russia introduced the resolution, Trump’s delegation all of a sudden stopped making threats and let the resolution move forward. It’s as if Trump’s people didn’t want to anger Russia, demonstrating once again that Trump avoids confrontation with Russia no matter what.
However, Russia is the hero of this particular story because without this particular Russian interference, Trump would have blocked an important resolution supporting breastfeeding and infant health.
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