Health leaders stunned as U.S. delegates oppose breastfeeding resolution | KOB 4
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Health leaders stunned as U.S. delegates oppose breastfeeding resolution

Morgan Aguilar
July 10, 2018 06:13 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Health leaders around the world are stunned to learn U.S. delegates opposed a breastfeeding resolution at the World Health Assembly in May.

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According to the New York Times, the resolution says countries should strive to limit inaccurate or misleading marketing of formula. Decades of research proves that breast milk is healthiest for both babies and mothers, but the formula industry is a $70 billion dollar industry.

“It’s unfortunate,” said Dr. Katrina Mitchell, a breast surgeon in Albuquerque and member of the New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force. “It is a very powerful industry and there's a lot of profit in it.”

Ironically, Dr. Mitchell was in Canada speaking about breastfeeding when she got the news.

“We all started talking about it at the conference,” said Dr. Mitchell.

She says health leaders worry that as long as the formula industry is trying to make money, there is a change for false health information to be spread.

“Formula is the same that you give a newborn infant as you're giving a one-year-old, and human milk is a beautiful, amazing, diverse, biological substance that changes every minute of the day for the child,” said Dr. Mitchell.

The New York Times reports U.S. delegates even threatened the Ecuadorean government with punishing trade measures, convincing them to drop the resolution. In the end, Russia introduced it and it passed with only minor changes.

Still, Dr. Mitchell says health leaders should use the U.S. opposition as motivation.

“I think it's just really an opportunity to remind ourselves that this is something that our work isn't done,” said Dr. Mitchell.

The New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force sent KOB three steps they hope people will take to support breastfeeding:

  1. Make sure the hospital they or their loved ones give birth in follows the Baby-Friendly 10 steps 
  2. Make sure their pediatrician has an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) on staff because pediatricians are not trained in breastfeeding management
  3. Call your elected officials and support those that support paid family leave. Mothers and babies together result in longer breastfeeding duration rates. 

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Morgan Aguilar

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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