Breastfeeding is a priority for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). WIC staff at all 89 WIC state agencies and more than 1,900 local agencies are trained to promote and support breastfeeding mothers, and WIC mothers are strongly encouraged to breastfeed their infants unless there is a medical reason not to. WIC state agencies have significant flexibility in setting breastfeeding policies and procedures, determining staffing requirements, distributing funding for breastfeeding peer counselor programs, and engaging in social media campaigns or other breastfeeding promotion activities. As a result, the availability of and access to breastfeeding supports can vary among local agencies, even those supported by the same state agency.
The goal of the WIC Breastfeeding Policy Inventory II (WIC BPI-II) is to identify and describe state and local breastfeeding statistics, policies, procedures, and best practices to improve breastfeeding initiation and duration rates. It will also examine how policies and practices address inequities in the availability and delivery of WIC breastfeeding support. The work will build on the first WIC BPI-I study, published in 2015.
Working with the Food and Nutrition Service, Insight will first abstract relevant data from WIC State Plans and other data sources, identifying available and missing data and prioritizing information for survey follow-up. Second, Insight will conduct a census of all 89 WIC state agencies and approximately 1,900 WIC local agencies to collect study data, focusing on items that could not be collected from other sources. The Insight team will—
- Convene an advisory panel to review our proposed design and provide feedback on data collection strategies. The panel will also focus on incorporating new and emerging topics for WIC, such as targeted breastfeeding support and education for WIC participants of alternative gender identities.
- Compile information on WIC State Plans and policies and procedures.
- Document state and local agencies’ approach in addressing equity (to include race, national origin, gender identify, geography, language, class, etc.).
- Document the definitions and measures of breastfeeding not available from other sources.
- Describe the status of the Breastfeeding Peer Counseling Program across state and local agencies.
- Assess the implementation and evaluation of the WIC Breastfeeding Support: Learn Together. Grow Together social marketing campaign.
- Identify virtual and telehealth solutions to breastfeeding support services.