Expert Comment: US stance on baby formula wrong and risks babies’ lives

Healthcare expert responds to the latest controversial US administration policy.

In response to reports that the Trump administration is opposed to efforts that promote breastfeeding, Professor Sally Kendall from the Centre for Health Services Studies said:

‘Donald Trump’s position that many women need formula because of malnutrition and poverty is wrong and denies babies who are most in need the right to human milk. Formula is expensive and causes malnutrition and poverty. The research evidence on the benefits of breastfeeding and human milk demonstrates that globally 800,000 babies’ lives would be saved each year if they were breastfed (Lancet series, 2016).

‘The conversation should not be about women’s ability to breastfeed or being stigmatised for not breastfeeding. Human milk is like a perfect vaccine that is free to produce, store and distribute and is protective against infection, obesity and breast cancer, and promotes attachment and bonding between mother and baby.

‘It is surely every baby’s right to receive the nutrition that is designed for them and every country’s duty to ensure that it can protect, promote and support breastfeeding for every baby where possible and improve population health.’