Canadian breastfeeding advocates alarmed by U.S. opposition to UN resolution


Canadian breastfeeding advocates say they’re stunned by an especially aggressive U.S. attempt to water down breastfeeding protections at a spring United Nations meeting.

Elisabeth Sterken of the Infant Feeding Action Coalition in Canada says she was among the official observers in Geneva when a U.S. delegation took issue with various proposals that included marketing restrictions on breast milk substitutes.

She says a prolonged debate eventually resulted in a watered-down resolution that effectively undermined long-standing efforts to support mother’s milk.

Details of the standoff were revealed in a New York Times report that said the U.S. forced Ecuador, the resolution’s sponsor, to drop the proposal.

The resolution was eventually passed when Russia sponsored another version that largely resisted U.S. demands.

Sterken says she was encouraged by how strongly many countries resisted the U.S. bid, and she praised Canada for doing its part to champion breastfeeding initiatives.

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