UPDATED: After WIC Brand Makeover, NWA Announces Breakup with Formula Companies

The National WIC Association announced its decision to sever ties with infant formula manufacturers at the their conference in Denver, Colorado this morning. The press release reads:

“Denver, CO: This morning, National WIC Association (NWA) Board of Directors Chair, Donna Bister, announced during NWA’s 2016 Nutrition Education & Breastfeeding Promotion Conference the Association is ending its relationships with infant formula manufacturers, putting into effect a resolution passed in May 2015 and reaffirmed in May 2016 by voting members of the Association.

Effective immediately, NWA will no longer invite infant formula manufacturers to be members, exhibitors at conferences, advertisers or sponsors of events and activities.

This resolution falls in line with NWA’s goal of supporting WIC as the nation’s Go-to-Breastfeeding Program and follows a series of actions including advocating for increased funding for breastfeeding support and counseling, promoting the involvement of IBCLCs at the state and local level as active breastfeeding team players, encouraging local agencies to adopt the NWA Six Steps to Achieve Breastfeeding Goals for WIC Clinics, and building partnerships with other public health organizations and the USDA to encourage and support breastfeeding.

The National WIC Association is the education arm and advocacy voice of the nation’s 12,200 WIC public health service provider agencies and the 8 million WIC mothers and young children.”

This is encouraging news in the effort to normalize breastfeeding here in the United States. Only 2 years ago, just after beginning this photography project, I had my own photograph captured by my WIC Nutritionist for exclusively breastfeeding my youngest son for 6 months. The photograph was printed, framed and hung on the wall at my local WIC office! It was a very different experience than it was with my previous children; exclusively pumping for 8 weeks with my first and supplementing with formula with my second. It was confirmation to me that the National WIC Association was paying attention; to the statistics and to the real solutions that can help every mother reach her breastfeeding goals.

Over the last few years the USDA has increased their support for breastfeeding through the Loving Support Program. By implementing more support including the breastfeeding Peer Counselor program, more moms can find the help they need and deserve to breastfeed exclusively and for a longer period of time. This additional support nationwide will also help to increase breastfeeding rates across the country. When most moms talk about not reaching their breastfeeding goals it is usually due to the lack of support, guidance, and/or education available to them at that time. This decision will help promote breastfeeding and also support mothers simultaneously connects resources to families at lower incomes who often lack the educational information they need to be successful. In light of the mothers who have medical necessity, cannot produce or baby is unable to breastfeed or even just mothers who have chosen to formula feed: THIS IS NOT an attack on you or choice not to breastfeed. The association is clear in their press release when they state that they, “will no longer invite infant formula manufacturers to be members, exhibitors at conferences, advertisers or sponsors of events and activities.” Every parent has the right to choose how to feed their child, but not every parent chooses based on real up-to-date education. The more we know, our perspectives change too. This decision will decrease the interaction between infant formula manufacturers and the WIC staff. However, NWA cannot withhold formula from families who need it because NWA and WIC are two separate entities. This decision does not affect the support that will continue to be provided for formula feeding families. The NWA provides education and advocacy for the WIC program.

In July, I was contacted by the National WIC Association to collaborate on a project for the NWA’s 2016 Nutrition Education & Breastfeeding Promotion Conference. The goal of the project directly reinforced the focus my mission: to display diverse variations of normal breastfeeding.

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These five images above were selected by NWA to be full size vertical banners at the conference. An additional 12 images were selected to be used for further promotions in print and on the NWA website. It was definitely a proud moment when NWA tweeted their displays in conference halls and even up on the stage, this past Thursday.

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NWA Conference Normalize Breastfeeding

The most influential aspect of this decision is that the association has aligned themselves with the WHO Code, choosing to protect mothers and babies from the predatory marketing efforts of formula companies. When they approached me about working together I was reluctant because I was unaware of their stance on the WHO Code. However, they assured me that their company was in fact in full support of the code. View the NWA Statement supporting the WHO Code.

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As a new member of the C.A.R.E. Code Alliance, I feel confident that more and more companies will realize the ways that the WHO Code supports ALL mothers in their infant feeding journey and take a stand for the code in their companies as well!

Well done NWA, well done!

If you have questions or concerns about this announcement, read what this means on the NWA website.

…….

charlotte-nc

 

#nbftour registration

21
Comments
  1. April Genung says:

    I’m currently breastfeeding my 20 month old son. His older brother is 3.5. I have been nursing and/or pregnant for over 4 years! I am an out and proud nurser and have never had any problems. I’m lucky!

  2. Shana Krings says:

    I love this movement and all it stands for. It is so important for women to have the support and courage they need to breastfeed anywhere and at any time!

  3. Esther Pelletier says:

    My breastfeeding journey started in 2013 but not how I expected. I had a preemie (34 weeker) who was taken straight to the nicu. A kind nurse expressed my colostrum for me while I cried. I then pumped every 2 hours around the clock and the nurses would tune or syringe feed my son. I was told they would probably supplement because there was no way I would make enough milk as the body isn’t always ready that early. I simply told them no. I would have enough. And I did! More than enough actually. After a few days I was able to try breastfeeding. After 2 weeks of breast, syringe and bottles of pumped milk we were discharged where I didtcjed the bottles and stuck to strictly breastfeeding. We continued until 22 months when he self weaned and I was in my last few weeks of my second pregnancy. I then welcomed another who I am still breastfeeding (even at the moment at 20 months) with no plans of stopping any time soon! We’ve had our issues with cracks, chronic blocked ducts, poor latches, and mastitis but I wouldn’t trade any of it for the magical bond that is breastfeeding!

  4. Emalee Hasek says:

    Breastfeeding has always been a challenge for us. My daughter was born with Gastroschisis and couldn’t eat for almost the 2 first weeks of life. (She had a central line and specific nutrition given to her through the iv) I pumped every day, around the clock, to make sure my milk came in and that she had enough.(we went home with our suitcase filed of frozen breastmilk!) The first colostrum she had was on a sponge that we rubbed on her gums. The first time she drank milk was from a bottle. Then it rotated between breast and bottle so we could mpnitor her intake. But it was my milk! By the time we left at week 4 (when we were told to expect to be there closer to 3 months!!) She was exclusively on the breast! Every day she got better at latching and nursing. She waneed to nurse and I wanted to nurse her! Our breastfeeding journey ended the day after her first birthday. I was so sick (pregnant with #2) and she was self weaning. I was sad to stop but she had decided it was time. I will always hold our breastfeeding journey close to my heart.
    My son was born almost 5 months ago and our journey was different and trying in its own ways. I had never fed new-new born, and felt very lost. He kept curling in his lips (which I didn’t catch) which caused a serious latch issue and resulted in very cracked and painful nipples. Not to mention he got thrush when he was 2 weeks old! But we didn’t give up!! We pumped the injured side while nursing on the healed, we saw breastfeeding counselors and LCs, we tried everything. After 3 months of hard work, tears, pain and worry I was finally completely healed and now our breastfeeding relationship at almost 5 months is blossoming! And I will continue to feed him as long as he wants!
    I love breastfeeding and I love the bond I get to have with each child as we go through our unique challenges and experiences together.

  5. Christy says:

    I dream of a breastmilk keepsake! Breastfeeding was hard work for me and I’m so proud of myself.

  6. Crystal Weil says:

    I’m currently breastfeeding my second child! She is 17 months old! I breastfed my first until he was 14 months. Unfortunately I had developed a horrible case of nursing aversion, and I didn’t know what it was until I had weaned my son, otherwise I would have tried to find coping methods. Thankfully he was pretty much ready to wean anyways, so it was not a traumatic experience for him. Though, I felt like a horrible mother until I realized what was actually going on. My daughter was a surprise pregnancy so I did not know I was pregnant, and that was why I had the aversion!
    Now, I am happily breastfeeding my daughter. She latched on right away when she was born and she hasn’t stopped since! She still nurses a million times a night and quite a few times during the day. I don’t see us quitting this gig anytime soon!

  7. Lacey Fitzgerald says:

    When I was pregnant with my first daughter everyone would always ask me if I was going to breastfeed or use formula. I hadn’t even given it a thought. Honestly it was the last thing on my mind. When she was finally born I had decided to breastfeed her but she was taken to the nursery and we didn’t get the chance to try until 8 hours later.

    Sitting in that hospital bed with my newborn baby at my breast, getting ready to latch made me so nervous. Just as I was going to get the formula out of her bassinet drawer something in me clicked and I decided right then to latch her on. It took some time but here we are 2 years later, tandem feeding with her 2 month old sister.

    It’s one of the hardest things I’ve done since becoming a mother. But also one of the most rewarding. Knowing that I’m the one that’s sustained her life with my body and made her feel safe. It’s a very rewarding feeling.

    I know our time nursing is coming to end though. I feel myself getting touched out and aggravated whenever she asks too much. Which seems like everytime her sister nurses. And I don’t want our breastfeeding story to end on a bad note. I’d like to look back and feel nothing but joy about it. But until we figure that out, we’ll keep on keeping on. Nurse on mamas!

  8. Bethann says:

    Currently breastfeeding my 7th baby. So glad to be a part of the movement to help normalize breastfeeding again.

  9. Sarah says:

    I use my milk for the whole family. I give my 2 year old milk baths and make my own lotions to help with her eczema. I use it for cold sores, nasal spray, red and itchy eyes. I have proudly nursed three healthy babies but i couldn’t have done it without the support from my hubby so a shout out to him! I have truly been blessed to be surrounded by so much support.

  10. Currently breastfeeding my 2nd son, he’s 7 months old and I will be devastated the day he weans! My 1st son was 14 months when he self weaned, hoping this one keeps going a while longer! Both boys were naturals and took to it so easily (they were both almost 11lbs when born so I imagine they were hungry little nuggets). I’ve had comments made to me “you’re not going to go past a year are you?” or “when they can ask for a boob that means they’re too old” but I don’t care, I will provide comfort and nourishment for my boy as long as he wants.

  11. Rachel says:

    I’m hoping to breastfeed for a year or more but I don’t have a story yet 🙂

    1. Tell us why you support breastfeeding!

  12. Kimberly Messina says:

    Thanks to all you AMAZING groups and advocates of breastfeeding women! I’m priveleged to be part of this movement! Can’t wait for the emoji, I would be dropping it right here! ???

  13. Breastfeeding has been my life for so long but I love spending this quality time with my babies!!! I will be sad when it’s over(hopefully this baby and I can go at least to two years, she’s two months now). ??

  14. Rebecca says:

    BF for 16 months and no plans to stop till he self weans (and even then I may pump and give him human milk). Why would I stop BF to give my baby cow’s milk?????

  15. Stephanie Kelso says:

    I started breastfeeding my daughter in April 2014.
    It was sometimes hard, but always worth it. I became passionate about continuing our breastfeeding relationship until she was done and spreading the word about the wonders of breastfeeding to anoyone that would listen. I became pregnant with my son when my daughter was 18 months old and my new goal became nursing through pregnancy and tandem nursing if She wanted to continue.

    She did and we have just reached 5months of tandem nursing! They are so sweet together when they are sharing and it makes my heart melt. One of the best things I’ve ever done!

  16. Heather Leacy says:

    I’ve breastfed for the better part of 5 years. 🙂 3 babies till self-weaning (one current nursling). I prefer not to share my selfies, but I do treasure them. I don’t have qualms about nursing in public – just feel like that is more intimate of a moment than I want to share publicly (same with a lot of kissing photos of myself and my husband). Anyway. Such a gift. It’s definitely had some very painful and difficult points. I’m grateful to have found a lot of support and like minded mamma friends.

  17. Danya says:

    I was only able to breastfeed my firstborn for a month after I medication I was given that was “safe while breastfeeding” dried my milk in 1 day. I was devastated. Fastforward 3 years and I am now going on 4 months of combination feeding my son. It has been a beautiful struggle but some breastmilk (as much as my body will make) is better than no breastmilk! I am trying my hardest to up my supply in hopes to EBF my baby boy. I know we can do it! Thank you for this movement. It means the world to so many amazing mothers.

  18. Becky Ginsburg says:

    We are going on 28 months breastfeeding. My son has been through some medical issues, and I’m so grateful for the extra comfort and nourishment I could provide.

  19. Kaitlynn Diaz-Pons says:

    Currently breastfeesing my 2nd baby. My breastfeeding journey was unfortunately cut short when i got pregnant when my son was only 4 months. We continued until he was 8 months when i stopped producing milk. He comfort nursed until he was a year. I moved in with some family members and let their comments about how great it was that he wasnt breastfeeding anymore (he didnt need to past 1 year in their eyes) get to me and i stopped. I had hoped to tandem nurse but hes no longer interested 🙁 i hope my breastfeeding journey with my daughter lasts a lot longer. I hope to get to at least 2 years with her. Thats our goal

  20. Christina says:

    I have been breastfeeding for close to four years now!
    I’ve shared my brelfies on my Instagram account, and have had two moms contact me for support…no one talks about how hard it can be!
    I hope to continue to be a source of inspiration and support by sharing my #normalizebreastfeeding photos! It truly is a beautiful thing 🙂

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