Trump administration threatened tiny nation over breastfeeding

US turned to threats to fight breast-feeding resolution report

Based on decades of research, the resolution says that mother's milk is healthiest for children and countries should strive to limit the inaccurate or misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes.

The American move was apparently an attempt to protect the interests of infant formula manufacturers.

The aggressiveness on display was pretty shocking, as Paste politics editor, Shane Ryan pointed out.

The US delegation threatened retribution on trade and military aid to Ecuador to get the nation to drop the resolution, according to the Times, and said at least a dozen countries also avoided the resolution out of fear of the US.

The Ecuadorian delegation, for instance, was expected to introduce the resolution but was weaned off the idea after the USA threatened to impose harmful trade measures and withdraw military assistance-which the U.S. is providing in the northern part of the country to help address violence spilling over the border from Colombia.

'What happened was tantamount to blackmail, with the USA holding the world hostage and trying to overturn almost 40 years of consensus on the best way to protect infant and young child health'.

Efforts to further promote breastfeeding initiatives in 2018 were met, reportedly, with unexpected hostility from U.S.

The Russian delegation eventually stepped in to introduce the measure, with no push-back from the U.S. The Ecuadorean government quickly acquiesced. Other nations didn't want to take it up afterwards, fearing "retaliation".

The State Department declined the Times' request to comment and said it could not discuss private diplomatic conversations.

"The resolution as originally drafted placed unnecessary hurdles for mothers seeking to provide nutrition to their children", an HHS spokesperson told the Times. "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 spokesman told The Times.

When U.S. efforts to water down the measure failed, the delegates reportedly threatened Ecuadorian delegates with retaliatory trade measures and said the U.S. would withdraw military aid unless the country withdrew the measure.

A 2016 statement passed uncontroversially at WHO's 69th assembly affirmed the organization's position that "the lives of more 820,000 children could be saved every year if all mothers followed [the WHO's] advice to start breastfeeding within an hour of birth, give only breast milk for the first six months, and continue breastfeeding until their children reach the age of two alongside appropriate complementary foods".

Moms Rising, a group trying to achieve economic security for mothers in the U.S., called the American government's move "stunning and shameful", adding that "We must do everything we can to advocate for public policies that support and empower breastfeeding moms". Another section called on countries to restrict promotion of food products that could have harmful effects on children.

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