National WIC Association

NWA's Breastfeeding Promotion Committee Celebrates National Breastfeeding Month

August 26, 2021
Categories: Array

Written by NWA's Breastfeeding Promotion Committee

August is National Breastfeeding Month (NBM). With NBM coming to a close, the National WIC Association applauds breastfeeding mothers and the WIC staff who support them in their journey.

As the premier public health nutrition program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) supports and encourages breastfeeding. As a result, all WIC staff play a vital role in promoting and supporting the successful initiation and continuation of breastfeeding.

In 2018, WIC served a total of 1.8 million women, 600,000 of which were breastfeeding.[1] Over the past two decades, breastfeeding initiation rates have increased dramatically. In 1998, only 42 percent of WIC mothers initiated breastfeeding. By 2018, the WIC breastfeeding initiation rate had increased to 71.8 percent.[2] Overall, FY 2020 data showed a positive trend in the number of breastfed infants, reflecting the efforts of WIC State and local agencies that provide breastfeeding promotion and support and breastfeeding peer counseling services to WIC families.[3]

Despite this, the pandemic has brought challenges in celebrating breastfeeding in different parts of the country. Many local agencies have gone virtual to bring awareness and support to their community. With many plans disrupted due to the pandemic ranging from hospital shutdowns to not having friends and family visit after delivery, many families have been left feeling isolated hence the importance of these virtual breastfeeding visits.

As we continue to celebrate NBM, each weekly theme is an important reminder of how breastfeeding spans diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, and cultures.

Below are some helpful resources to help you celebrate the remainder of NBM:

#indigenousMilkMedicineWeek #BlackBreastfeedingWeek #WBW #breastfeeding #WICbreastfeeding #normalizebreastfeeding #aanhpibreastfeedingweek

[1] United States Department of Agriculture (2018) WIC Participant and Program Characteristics 2018 Final Report.

[2] National WIC Association (2019) WIC’s Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding Making Breastfeeding Accessible and Equitable for the WIC Population.

[3] United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (2021) Fiscal Year 2020 WIC Breastfeeding Data Local Agency Report.