The Times framed the US opposition during the United Nations -affiliated meeting in alarming terms. Breastfeeding rates vary by country, but two out of three infants worldwide are not breastfed for the recommended six months and this rate has not improved in several decades, according to a WHO, UNICEF and International Baby Food Action Network report from 2016.
According to the Times, an anodyne and scientifically sound pro-breastfeeding resolution was expected to be approved easily.
According to the article, experts contend that breast milk is especially important for babies in less economically developed countries, where unsafe water supplies can make powdered baby formula risky.
The report also noted the dilution ration must be correct or babies will suffer from malnutrition and the bottles must be adequately cleaned.
The New York Times report mirrored sweeping and unattributed claims from activist groups.
AP reported that the Times defended its reporting. Dr. Colleen A. Kraft, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, has said that "the decision to breastfeed is not a lifestyle choice, it's a critical decision for infant welfare".
Worldwide delegates to the United Nation's World Health Assembly looked on at the group's recent meeting, as US representatives appeared to put the interests of the $70 billion baby food industry ahead of those of parents and children-and pressured other countries to do the same.
A mother bottle feeds her baby. The Department of Health and Human Services has since responded, saying the U.S delegation was advocating for a variety of feeding options because some women are unable to breastfeed.
Somehow things escalated from there into the US threatening Ecuador--the nation that was introducing the resolution--with "punishing trade measures".
The US threatened Ecuador and other countries of withdrawing military support and trade retaliation so they would pull sponsorship.
"The resolution as originally drafted placed unnecessary hurdles for mothers seeking to provide nutrition to their children", the spokesperson said.
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.
The State Department official said the United States works "to identify common cause when possible and does not shy away from expressing its disagreement when necessary".
But research has long shown that breastfeeding is the best way to nourish an infant, boost their immune system, prevent them from being sick or becoming overweight or obese and forge bonding between mother and child. This year's theme is "Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life" and is focused on breastfeeding as the foundation of lifelong good health for babies and mothers.
"And now the U.S. Gov is against breastfeeding in favor of formula companies", a DailyKos story blared. Ultimately - and we're not making this up - Russian Federation intervened, and the resolution passed. While the sales of baby formula have been flat in the West over the last few years, they were on the rise in developing countries. Ecuador was prepared to introduce the resolution.
"We were shocked because we didn't understand how such a small matter like breast-feeding could provoke such a dramatic response", said the Ecuadorean official, speaking with a requirement of anonymity.