The Trump Administration is rightly facing backlash for shamefully trying to bully other UN World Health Assembly member countries into voting against an international resolution that sought to promote breastfeeding over infant formula, argues Jonathan O’Callaghan in IFLScience. To try to sway the resolution, a US delegation at the World Health Assembly recently threatened Ecuador, which proposed the resolution, with removing military aid and altering trade deals. Despite four decades of research showing that breast milk is more beneficial for infant health than formula, the US delegation demanded that the resolution’s wording be less definitive about favoring breastfeeding and put less restrictions on promoting potentially harmful food products. While the US argues that the resolution places unnecessary hurdles on mothers who are not all able to breastfeed, its actions are seen as preferring private profit over public health.
The US delegation was right to stand up to the UN's World Health Assembly's attempts to pass a resolution encouraging breastfeeding and discouraging the use of formula. While it is not yet clear why the US delegation was objecting to the breastfeeding resolution, or whether ties to Big Formula had anything to do with it, there is a broader story at play: Trump was valid in standing up to the global pressure leveled at mothers to breastfeed, believes Jonathan V. Last at Weekly Standard. While great for some women and babies, breastfeeding should not dismiss or overshadow the decades of science and research that has also gone into creating nutrient-rich and safe formulas for babies. One mode of feeding should not be deemed superior to the other. Trump was right to stand up to those at the UN whose breastfeeding resolution may shame mothers who are already facing enough stress as it is.