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Opinion Pieces Discuss Debates Over Breastfeeding, Infant Formula

Washington Post: The real reason the Trump administration went to war over breastfeeding
Paul Adler, assistant professor of history at Colorado College and author

“…[Donald] Trump is not the first Republican president to target breast milk as part of advancing a broader conservative agenda. More than 30 years ago, it was Ronald Reagan trying to undermine attempts to promote breastfeeding. His goal was the same as the Trump administration’s: to stop any international regulatory actions that might constrict corporate prerogatives, regardless of the potential effects on public health. … Today, the United States is once again pushing back against measures — especially ones promoted by international organizations — that might limit multinational corporations’ ability abroad to advertise and sell profitable products. … Scholars, policymakers, and journalists would do well to focus less on Trump’s seeming heresies on the global stage and more on the many profound continuities between his administration and past conservative crusades” (7/11).

The Conversation: Breastfeeding has been the best public health policy throughout history
Joan Y. Meek, associate dean of graduate medical education and professor of clinical sciences at Florida State University

“Breastfeeding has long been the gold standard for infant nutrition. … The scientific research in support of breastfeeding is overwhelmingly clear, and most mothers in the U.S. have heard that message and learned from it. Marketing and sales of infant formula have surged in developing countries, however. … Some of the poorest countries have the lowest breastfeeding initiation and duration and could gain the most in terms of health impact and economic benefit from improving breastfeeding rates. … However, the formula industry stands to gain the most financially when breastfeeding fails. The formula industry should not be influencing public health policy. The U.S. delegates to the World Health Assembly must lead the way in support of health policies based upon science…” (7/11).

CNN: The ‘breast is best’ policy backlash
Elissa Strauss, writer at CNN

“…Giving moms choices need not mean skipping the breastfeeding education and handing them samples of formula shortly after birth. … I know that, broadly speaking, women can’t have it all. But perhaps, within the relatively narrow confines of breastfeeding education, we can. Imagine if we were told the whole truth, without judgment, and were given choices to proceed how we see fit. What if we could expect to be supported in our efforts feed our children without the fear that we are putting them, or ourselves, at risk?” (7/11).

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