Weekly Wire: March 5, 2021
The Staying Abreast: Weekly Wire e-Newsletter is a compendium of news, actions, and resources considered to be of interest or relevance to the breastfeeding field. The newsletter aims to support the USBC's mission "To drive collaborative efforts for policy and practices that create a landscape of breastfeeding support across the United States." Included items are submitted for consideration or identified by the USBC e-news team via extensive online review. Whenever possible, the newsletter utilizes language directly from the primary source of an item without additional analysis or edits. In some cases, the USBC offers additional perspectives through the "USBC Insights," media and partner highlights, and the "News & Views" section. Inclusion of an item in the e-newsletter does not imply endorsement or support by the USBC of an item or organization, unless specifically noted.
In this Issue:
- USBC Updates
- Breastfeeding Policy Priorities for 117th Congressional Session
- USBC Membership Meeting Brings Together Organizations Committed to Supporting Lactating Families
- Celebrating USBC Board Members
- USBC Supports...
- Special Section on COVID-19
- National News
- Timeline of CDC/ASTR Contributions to Women's Health, summarized from CDC
- Public Comment Opportunity on Safe to Sleep Campaign, summarized from NICHD
- WIC Act Sign On Letter Opportunity, summarized from NWA
- FAMILY Act Sign On Letter Opportunity, summarized from NPWF
- Maternal Health Resource Hub, summarized from MHLIC
- Fact Sheet on Telehealth and Medicaid Coverage of Pregnancy Care, summarized from NHLP
- State & Community News
- Guidelines for Breastfeeding-Friendly Food Pantries, summarized from Colorado Breastfeeding Coalition
- Announcement of Funding to Support WIC Telehealth Innovations, summarized from USDA/Tufts University
- Equity Lens
- Virtual Workshop Series on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, summarized from USLCA
- MOMMA's Act Introduced in Senate, summarized from Congress
- Bill Prohibiting LGBTQ Discrimination Passes House, summarized from Congress
- App Focused on Black Maternal and Infant Mortality Launches, summarized from Irth
- News & Views
denotes a USBC member organization news item denotes a USBC-affiliated constellation news item
Breastfeeding Policy Priorities for 117th Congressional Session
The U.S. Breastfeeding Committee is pleased to announce the top five breastfeeding policy priorities for the 117th congressional session! These priorities reflect the policy changes that are most urgently needed during the next two years. The priorities were identified and selected through extensive feedback from USBC supporters, member representatives, and member organizations. Thank you to all of the individuals and organizations that provided input.
- Federal funding for breastfeeding
- Infant & young child feeding in emergencies
- Access to breastfeeding support & supplies
- Paid family & medical leave
- Maternity care practices
USBC Membership Meeting Brings Together Organizations Committed to Supporting Lactating Families
The U.S. Breastfeeding Committee hosted a Membership Meeting on Thursday, February 25. The biannual event brings together the more than 100 member organizations that comprise the USBC and work collaboratively to drive policy and practice changes that create a landscape of breastfeeding support. A special invitation was also issued to non-member breastfeeding coalitions to attend as guests. The Membership Meeting included a Mission Moment delivered by Board Member, Tina Sherman, a governmental partner panel, an update from the USBC Executive Team, and networking opportunities between participants.
Would you like your organization to have a seat at the table? Learn more about the five membership categories and submit an application!
Celebrating USBC Board Members
As part of an ongoing celebration of the dynamic leaders serving on the USBC Board of Directors, the USBC published profiles of Board Members Amy Smolinski and Tina Sherman.
The USBC joined the following organizational sign on letters from the field:
- Mom2Mom Global: Letter to the Defense Health Agency regarding TRICARE demonstration project to expand coverage for lactation support
- National Partnership for Women & Families: Letter in support of the Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act
- National WIC Association: Letter in support of the Wise Investment in our Children Act (WIC Act)
Special Section on COVID-19
As communities around the nation respond to the global Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the USBC has continued to serve as a communication hub for the breastfeeding field. View the updated "Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies" webpage for key resources on COVID-19 and infant feeding. See the Staying Abreast: Weekly Wire archive for previous compilations of COVID-19 resources and updates. Submit additional resources for consideration via the online form. Highlights from the field include:
- Congress: The House of Representatives has passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (H.R. 1319). The legislative package would address the public health and economic consequences of COVID-19 through a wide range of provisions, including $880 million in Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) investments, an expansion and extension of the voluntary emergency paid sick and paid leave tax credits that were passed under the Families First Act, and extending Medicaid coverage for pregnant beneficiaries through one year postpartum. Highlights from the field include:
- ASTHO: "Legislative Alert: House Approves American Rescue Plan Act of 2021"
- NWA: "House Passes Urgent COVID-19 Relief with Important WIC Investments"
- NPWF: "American Rescue Plan Will Provide COVID Relief for Millions of Working Families"
- House Committee on Energy & Commerce: On Tuesday, March 2, House Committee on Energy & Commerce held a committee hearing titled "The Future of Telehealth: How COVID-19 is Changing the Delivery of Virtual Care." An archived video and written statements from Members of Congress and expert witnesses are available.
- USBC Insight: The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled many lactation support providers to shift to a lactation telehealth model. Lack of access to broadband services has made this transition difficult or impossible in many communities, particularly in rural areas.
COVID-19 News & Views
The New York Times: "Johnson & Johnson has planned trials of its vaccine that will include infants"
Timeline of CDC/ASTR Contributions to Women's Health, summarized from CDC
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry published a webpage titled "A Timeline of CDC/ATSDR Contributions to Women's Health." The webpage features a decade-by-decade timeline of agency contributions to women's health, including a range of breastfeeding surveillance, analysis, and research efforts, resource creation, quality improvement initiatives, and promotion campaigns.
Public Comment Opportunity on Safe to Sleep Campaign, summarized from NICHD
The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development launched a public comment opportunity on submissions to the Safe to Sleep® (STS) campaign. Submissions for the STS campaign will be used to assess the understanding and reach of STS campaign materials and messages, and to monitor and improve campaign activities such as training workshops and overall implementation. Comments will be collected by the Office of Management and Budget. Comments can be submitted in written or electronic form using the public comment portal. The deadline to submit comments is Saturday, March 27.
USBC Insight: The NICHD Safe to Sleep campaign recommends ways to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related causes of infant death, including breastfeeding. Babies who breastfeed, or are fed breast milk, are at lower risk for SIDS than are babies who were never fed breast milk. Longer duration of exclusive breastfeeding leads to lower risk.
WIC Act Sign On Letter Opportunity, summarized from NWA
The National WIC Association launched an organizational sign on letter to members of congress in support of the Wise Investment in our Children Act (WIC) Act. The WIC Act would permit state agencies administering the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children to: (1) extend child eligibility to age six or the beginning of kindergarten; (2) extend infant certification periods to two years; and (3) extend postpartum women's eligibility to two years. National, state, and local organizations are invited to sign on via the online form.
FAMILY Act Sign On Letter Opportunity, summarized from NPWF
The National Partnership for Women & Families launched an organizational sign on letter in support of the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act. The FAMILY Act would establish a national paid family and medical leave insurance program that would ensure that workers can take up to 12 weeks of paid leave for a pregnancy, the birth or adoption of a child, to recover from a serious illness, or to care for a seriously ill family member. National, state, and local organizations are invited to sign on via the online form.
Maternal Health Resource Hub, summarized from MHLIC
The Maternal Health Learning & Innovation Center launched a national resource hub to catalog and disseminate best practices related to maternal health improvement, including breastfeeding support. Resources and trainings are separated into nine categories: equity, clinical, telehealth, public health, workforce/leadership building, use of data/evaluation, policy, community/clinical engagement, and understanding communities/areas/populations.
Fact Sheet on Telehealth and Medicaid Coverage of Pregnancy Care, summarized from NHLP
The National Health Law Program published a new fact sheet titled "Medicaid Coverage of Pregnancy Care Delivered via Telehealth." The resource includes information on the benefits of telehealth for providing pregnancy care, and how states have promoted coverage of and access to pregnancy care via telehealth. The resource notes that services for postpartum people such as postpartum follow-up visits and lactation support can also be provided through telehealth.
State & Community News
Guidelines for Breastfeeding-Friendly Food Pantries, summarized from Colorado Breastfeeding Coalition
The Colorado Breastfeeding Coalition created a resource titled "Guidelines for the Breastfeeding-Friendly Food Pantry." The resource highlights recommendations and best practices for food pantries of all sizes to fully support breastfeeding families. It also includes an assessment for food pantries to determine how they can improve their support of breastfeeding families.
Announcement of Funding to Support WIC Telehealth Innovations, summarized from USDA/Tufts University
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Tufts University announced that seven WIC State Agencies will receive awards up to $1,000,000 each through the Telehealth Intervention Strategies for WIC (THIS-WIC) project. Each State Agency will use telehealth solutions to deliver nutrition education and breastfeeding support to WIC participants to overcome barriers to access, particularly those encountered in rural settings.
Virtual Workshop Series on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, summarized from USLCA
The United States Lactation Consultant Association is hosting a virtual workshop titled "Equity-Mindedness Professional Learning Series" on Wednesday, March 24, through Friday, March 26, from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET daily. The three-day workshop includes an examination of individual, institutional, and systemic influences in relation to social injustice. Participants will learn more about their own socialization and social identities along with the conscious and unconscious prejudices and biases they may hold. The first session is free to all attendees, and the entire workshop is free for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color attendees.
MOMMA's Act Introduced in Senate, summarized from Congress
The Mothers and Offspring Mortality and Morbidity Awareness (MOMMA's) Act (S. 411) has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), along with 9 original co-sponsors. The MOMMA's Act would work to reduce the disparate maternal and infant morbidity and mortality rates, especially among Black and Brown birthing people and infants. The bill includes technical assistance for improved data collection, including on breastfeeding. The bill would also support maternal safety bundles to assist states and health care systems in aligning national, state, and hospital-level quality improvement efforts to improve maternal health outcomes, including optimization of support for breastfeeding. Highlights from the field include:
- American College of Nurse-Midwives: "Senate Reintroduces Legislation to Federally Invest in Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM) Program"
Bill Prohibiting LGBTQ Discrimination Passes House, summarized from Congress
The Equality Act (H.R. 5) has passed the House of Representatives. The bill would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation in the areas of employment, education, credit, jury service, federal funding, housing, and public accommodations. The bill notes that many women have faced discrimination because they are pregnant or breastfeeding and defines discrimination on the basis of sex to include pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition. The bill has been placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar.
App Focused on Black Maternal and Infant Mortality Launches, summarized from Irth
"Irth," an app that addresses the Black maternal and infant mortality crises, has launched in the Apple and Google Play stores. The app allows Black and Brown women and birthing people of color to search and leave reviews of their OB/GYN, birthing hospitals, postpartum care, and pediatricians, up to the baby's first year. Read the press release.
News & Views
CHEER blog: "CHEER Champion of the Week: The State of Mississippi!"
Education & Labor Committee press release: "Bipartisan Group Reintroduce Bill to Strengthen Protections for Pregnant Workers"
Minnesota Nursing Magazine: "Overcoming barriers to breastfeeding"