USDA launches campaign to promote breastfeeding

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02 Aug 2018 --- The first week of August marks the US National Women Infants and Children (WIC) Breastfeeding Week, which aims to promote and support breastfeeding as the best source of nutrition for a baby’s first year of life. This year the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is launching a new breastfeeding campaign entitled “WIC Breastfeeding Support – Learn Together. Grow Together.”

This year's initiative coincides with the release of a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), entitled, Capture the Moment, which highlighted that 78 million babies in 2017 were not breastfed within the first hour of life. 

The report analyzed data from 76 countries and found that breastfeeding within the first hour after birth is critical for saving newborn lives. However, the reported estimates that three in five do not receive this crucial feed. This puts these babies at higher risk of death and disease – especially as they are more likely to be in low – and middle-income countries – making it less likely for them to continue breastfeeding. The report outlined a number of reasons for this including:

  • Being fed formula, sugar water or other drinks instead of breastmilk.
  • A rise in c-sections, which an earlier study identified as being a factor that decreases rates of breastfeeding in the first hour of life.
  • Gaps in the quality of care provided to mothers and newborns, such as the presence of a skilled birth attendant and location of delivery.

The National Women Infants and Children (WIC) Breastfeeding Week will be accompanied by a research-based social marketing campaign, which encourages moms who participate in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) to breastfeed their babies and provides them with support and expertise to help them succeed.

“Each month, WIC serves almost 7 million low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women and their young children,” says Brandon Lipps, USDA’s Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services. “The new WIC Breastfeeding Support campaign will educate new moms on the many benefits of breastfeeding and connect them with helpful resources and support.”

The campaign is designed for implementation at the state and local levels of WIC. It includes a revamped website with resources for expectant and current mothers. Whether the user is learning about breastfeeding, beginning to breastfeed, overcoming common challenges, or thriving, the site has the information WIC moms need to make breastfeeding work for their family.

Lipps added that USDA supports all WIC mothers – breastfeeding or not – and helps them ensure their infants have a healthy start in life.

In further WIC news, Happy Family Organics, the US’ largest organic baby food brand, has expanded its Happy Baby Clearly Crafted line with the addition of a jars offering to adhere to the guidelines of The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for WIC.

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