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RECENTLY the New York Times reported that US officials (unsuccessfully) used some hardcore diplomatic pressure to undermine a World Health Assembly resolution in support of breastfeeding, going so far as to threaten punishing trade measures and the withdrawal of military aid from Ecuador, the country first set to introduce the measure.
This might seem like much ado about nothing; as it must have to an anonymous Ecuadorian official who called breastfeeding “a small matter but the consensus among public health experts and the World Health Organisation has long been that breast milk is the healthiest option for newborns.
US President Donald Trump took to Twitter to call the story fake news, writing that the US “strongly supports breastfeeding but we don’t believe women should be denied access to formula”. Formula manufacturers have used aggressive and sometimes illegal tactics to encourage the use of formula in poor countries, where it can sometimes be dangerous when combined with unsafe water, as reported in this February investigation from the Guardian and Save the Children.