Media Promote Myth Trump Favors Formula Makers over Breastfed Babies

Faith Castro
July 13, 2018

A 2016 study published by The Lancet says breastfeeding could save the lives of 823,000 children and 20,000 mothers each year. The World Health Assembly's concern about misleading promotion of infant formula is also grounded in fact. This could ban all marketing of formula, such as advertising, free samples and product placements (as the FCTC did with tobacco marketing); require breastfeeding assistance at hospitals; provide paid maternity leave so that women could have the time and security to breastfeed, and so on. "That pro-business, anti-public-health agenda has certainly come back".

"Many women are not able to breastfeed for a variety of reasons, these women should not be stigmatized; they should be equally supported with information and access to alternatives for the health of themselves and their babies", she said. Such practices eliminate the risk of mixing formula with contaminated water. Of course, it is in line with the general attitude of the United States, which has earlier opposed taxes on sugared drinks and attacked changes in licensing law proposed to deliver life-saving medicines in poor countries. In more recent years, Gertler told me, the annual death told has dropped to around 25,000, driven by improved access to clean water in the southern hemisphere.

"Breast is best, there is nothing natural about giving human babies milk that is meant for baby cows".

The main concern isn't whether breastfeeding should be supplemented with formula, but what happens when formula becomes a substitute for breast milk entirely.

The Infant Nutrition Council of America is an association of manufacturers of infant formulas, follow-up formulas or growing up milks; members are Abbott Nutrition, Gerber Products Company, Perrigo Nutritionals and Reckitt Benckiser.

US President Donald Trump has defended US efforts to reportedly undermine a World Health Organization (WHO) measure in support of breastfeeding.

The worldwide infant formula industry, worth $70 billion, is dominated by US and European countries and has faced plateauing revenue in the developed world in recent years as awareness about the benefits of breast-feeding spreads. Their sales have increased, however, in developing countries.

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The baby formula companies are predominately American or European, including Nestle and Mead Johnson.

"A breastfeeding mother must pump her milk as often as the baby usually eats", writes the United States Breastfeeding Committee, a nonprofit based in Chicago.

"We feel that it is wrong when a big country tries to push around some very small countries, especially on an issue that is really important for the rest of the world", a Russian delegate told The New York Times.

Of course, dominating a multi-billion dollar industry generates large profits-and plenty of money to invest in lobbying. In its latest lobbying disclosure document, covering the first three months of 2018.

Breastfeeding remains the gold standard for infant nutrition across the world.

Critics charge that the United States delegation is unduly influenced by lobbyists for formula manufacturers.

As US President Donald Trump's administration officials opposed a breastfeeding resolution of the World Health Organisation (WHO), actress Pamela Anderson on behalf of PETA wrote a letter to United Nations stating the importance of breastfeeding for newborns.

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