It was my first big buy meeting after having my baby and I went in unprepared. Not on the work side. Nope, I had all the sell-thru history and assortment plans ready to present to the (male) buyer. It was on the personal side where things fell apart. My (male) Regional Manager and I were halfway to a town outside of Milwaukee when I realized I’d left my breast pump at home. How bad could it be? I mean, I’m only going to be gone four or so hours….
We got to the buying office with half an hour to spare so I stopped in the women’s bathroom to freshen up after the hour long ride. For anyone who’s never been a breastfeeding mom, your body adjusts to your baby’s schedule. So when that baby is ready to eat… well, let’s just say you’re ready to feed it. We hadn’t even begun the meeting and I knew I’d made a big mistake not bringing that pump.
I proceeded into the meeting room filled with all men: the buyer, his assistant and my manager. We were covering the last season’s sell thru and I was doing my best to ignore the pain in my chest when the buyer stopped and pointed at my silk blouse (what was I thinking??) and said, “Germaine do you want to take care of that?”
I looked down and saw what looked like two leaky faucets dripping breast milk right onto the conference table. I was mortified and as I headed back to the bathroom to see what I could do to cease the endless dripping, I heard them laughing and making inappropriate comments.
This was 22 years ago and I remember hoping life will be easier for my daughter if and when she has a baby. More people will be educated cause breastfeeding is bound to get more popular. They’ll understand we’re all born with mammary glands to feed our children. Breastfeeding gives them the best start at a healthy life and nursing will be more accepted, right?
Well here we are and the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly is gathered in Geneva. Decades of research has shown that breastfeeding is the absolute best form of nutrition to give new born babies and all delegates are expected to endorse a “resolution [that] says that mother’s milk is healthiest for children and countries should strive to limit the inaccurate or misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes.” (Read More HERE)
But low and behold, the United States says “NO”. They say no to endorsing decades of research that could save over 823,000 babies and instead, they embrace the interests of infant formula makers.
At first, the U.S. asked the other delegates to “water down” the resolution but when that attempt failed, they decided to threaten Ecuador who was prepared to introduce the resolution, by threatening to enforce punishing trade measures and withhold military support. What’s worse is other small, poor countries in Africa and Latin America backed off on supporting the measure too because they feared if they did, our government would unleash multiple forms of retaliation.
Are you getting this? The U.S. delegates who are supposed to be advocating health and wellness around the world are bullying other countries so they can protect formula manufacturers. They’re sacrificing the health not only of their own people, but of thousands of others around the world so infant formula companies CAN MAKE MONEY!
Breast milk contains antibodies that help babies fight off viruses and bacteria. Breast feeding actually lowers the risk of babies getting allergies or asthma. Actually, babies fed exclusively breast milk without any formula for the first 6 months have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses and bouts of diarrhea which honestly, is a huge plus right there! (Read More HERE)
Endorsing this measure would mean thousands of babies would get a healthier stab at life and more women would be supported in their decision to nurse. Yet, due to the bullying of our own United States health delegates, these babies and women will suffer so formula companies can profit. Wow! Talk about the ugly Americans!
Putting major corporations over the health of babies around the world is a blatant illustration of this administration’s selfish greed.
This all brings me right back to that day in the conference room. Yeah, I was stupid not to have brought my breast pump that day and yeah, I set myself up for embarrassment by not being prepared but if the other people in that room had been more educated and accepting of breast feeding, I bet I wouldn’t have left feeling utterly (ahem) defeated.
So how do Ecuador and those other tiny countries feel? How do YOU feel knowing your own health delegation chooses profit over your own well being? I don’t know about you, but it kind of makes me sick and unfortunately, their actions will literally make a lot of babies sick too.
What can you do? Be informed and spread awareness to everyone you know (yes, the men too!) so that we are all aware of how healthy breastfeeding can be. For more info on how you can help, click here.
– Germaine Caprio, Company Owner & Designer
TO HEAR FROM YOU
Do you think breast is best?
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