WIC in Transition
Originally posted November 10, 2011
Several months ago, I spotted an ad campaign by Texas WIC (Women, Infants and Children) called “Breastmilk: Every Ounce Counts”
. It was a lovely campaign featuring beautiful pictures, radio spots, TV commercials and outdoor sinage. This is the new face of WIC- a breastfeeding supportive, progressive agency that actually cares about the health of the women & children they exist to serve.
It’s a rarity.
But just a few days ago, I came across this article
by Molly Ginty on We-news.com. It’s an extremely well written article and gives a fantastic run down of the split-personality that exists within WIC at this point in time. It is true that WIC purchases around 60% of all the formula sold in the U.S. and WIC helps feed almost half of the children in the U.S. This means that WIC is possibly the most important player positioned to influence the way the mothers of this country feed their infants. If HALF of the children in this country are fed through WIC, they wield tremendous influence.
Which is why I am encouraged about the future of breastfeeding in this country. Yes, WIC purchases most of the formula in the US- but they are also becoming one of the nation’s largest breastfeeding proponents. At my CLC training in May, fully 80% of the women there had been sent by their employer- WIC. They had come to learn how to counsel pregnant women to breastfeed and how to deal with lactation difficulties to help increase breastfeeding duration rates. So WIC is spending agency money on impressive staff training and to create ad campaigns like the one above.
So yes, WIC spends a lot of money on formula and will not let any child go hungry regardless of his mother’s decision about or ability to breastfeed. But I foresee a day when the percentage of money WIC spends on formula begins to drop due to their genuine efforts and success in helping mothers breastfeed. What do you suppose will happen to the formula companies when they lose most of the business from their biggest customer?
I am encouraged indeed…