Donald Trump on Monday blasted as “fake news” a New York Times story that suggested the Trump administration opposed a World Health Assembly (WHA) measure that promotes breastfeeding, The Hill is reporting.
In a Monday afternoon tweet, Trump indicated that the Times mischaracterized the administration’s reasons for opposing the initiative.
“The failing NY Times Fake News story today about breast feeding must be called out. The U.S. strongly supports breast feeding but we don’t believe women should be denied access to formula. Many women need this option because of malnutrition and poverty.”
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly put forth a resolution last week to encourage women to breastfeed instead of to use formula or non-human milk. What’s more, the resolution was intended to discourage formula manufacturers from using “inaccurate marketing.”
According to UNICEF, manufacturers of infant formula have been misleading breastfeeding women, particularly in the developing world, into stopping breastfeeding early or forgoing it entirely, making dubious claims that expensive formulas they sell are actually better for the baby than breast milk. They are not.
“The health of babies is so important that the usual rules governing market competition and advertising should not apply to products intended for feeding babies. Therefore, all Governments should legislate to prevent commercial interests from damaging breastfeeding rates and the health of their population.”
Breastfeeding is, by just about every standard, better for both the baby and for the mother in every conceivable way, according to WebMD, a belief shared by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Breastfed babies are less prone to infections, are less likely to suffer gastrointestinal discomfort, and may even be less likely to develop asthma or obesity later in life.
Of course, not all women can breastfeed, and in those instances formula should, of course, be an option available to them.
So why did the Trump administration oppose WHA’s breastfeeding initiative, even to the point of threatening the initiative’s sponsor, Ecuador, with punitive trade measures and even reduced military aid? That remains unclear.
But Trump said that the Times left out some crucial information: namely, that the administration supports breastfeeding, but that it doesn’t want to limit women’s access to formula when they need it.
Maggie Haberman, a White House reporter for the Times, isn’t buying it. She points out in a tweet that, on the one hand, Trump is calling reports of the administration’s opposition to the measure “fake news,” while at the same time confirming that the administration opposes the measure.
Meanwhile, the formula industry is seeing declining sales in wealthy countries such as the United States or European countries, while sales are on the increase in developing countries.