Weekly Wire: May 22, 2020

Weekly Wire: May 22, 2020

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​
    • Register to Participate in Virtual Identity Caucuses
    • Share Your Insights on COVID-19 and Infant Feeding
    • Last Chance to Submit Public Comments on the Dietary Guidelines
  • Special Section on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) 
  • National News​
    • WIC Act Introduced in House, summarized from Congress
    • Study on Physician Mothers and Breastfeeding, summarized from Breastfeeding Medicine
    • Webinar on Breastfeeding and Safe Sleep, summarized from MIBFN
    • Webinar on Breastfeeding Workers' Rights, summarized from NWA
  • Equity Lens
    • Clinical Protocol on Lactation Care for LGBTQ+ Parents, summarized from ABM
    • Podcast Series on Black Birthing Experiences, summarized from NATAL
  • Collective Impact Connection
    • Statement on Pasteurized Donor Human Milk and COVID-19, summarized from PDHM Constellation
    • Webinar on Racial Bias in Funding, summarized from SSIR
  • News & Views

 * denotes a USBC member organization news item

+ denotes a USBC-affiliated constellation news item

USBC Updates

Register to Participate in Virtual Identity Caucuses

The USBC will be hosting virtual identity caucuses to support individuals of the same identity to be in community with one another. While prejudice affects everyone, the ways in which we are affected, and thus the work that we have to do to address prejudice and oppression is different. Identity Caucuses allow us to meet separately to do our different work. These facilitated safe spaces can be used to share stories and strategies toward solidarity and liberation, as we collectively work toward creating a world with thriving families and communities. Registration is required. These spaces are not meant to be used to learn from or recruit members of these communities, so please only register for groups that you authentically identify with.

Share Your Insights on COVID-19 and Infant Feeding

The USBC is continuing to collect input from the field through the story collector titled "How is the COVID-19 Pandemic Impacting Infant Feeding?" The COVID-19 pandemic has created seismic shifts in the infant and young child feeding landscape with dangerous compromises to the initiation and establishment of breastfeeding. As communities around the nation respond to the pandemic, the USBC invites pregnant and breastfeeding families, health care providers, and all public health stakeholders to share stories to help illuminate our nation's most pressing infant and young child feeding needs during the pandemic. There are options to share privately and anonymously. 

Last Chance to Submit Public Comments on the Dietary Guidelines

The USBC action tool titled "Urge the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to Support Breastfeeding" will expire on Monday, June 1—submit your comments today! A new edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is under development, and for the first time ever, these guidelines will include nutrition recommendations for infants, toddlers, and pregnant and lactating parents. The Food and Nutrition Service has released a public comment opportunity, seeking input from individuals and organizations to guide the development of the 2020-2025 edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Individuals are invited to use the USBC action tool to submit public comments urging the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to support breastfeeding priorities. Responding to public comment opportunities is not lobbying. The federal government is actively soliciting your input to inform its decision-making.

Special Section on Coronavirus Disease (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:

  • Center for WorkLife Law: The Center for WorkLife Law has launched a free nationwide COVID-19 legal helpline and practical tools for workers who have questions about their workplace rights or need leave related to coronavirus, including breastfeeding parents struggling with workplace accommodations in light of COVID-19. Helpline callers can connect with attorneys to receive information about how to protect their incomes, health benefits, and jobs while taking care of their families and health during the COVID-19 crisis. The Center also offers new guides to requesting paid leave, including forms employees can use to request leave.   
  • Congress: Members of Congress have introduced two bills relevant to breastfeeding families.
    • The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES) Act (H.R. 6800), the fourth Congressional COVID funding bill, has been introduced in the House of Representatives. The emergency spending bill includes $1.1 billion in additional funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children and $100 million in additional funding for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program. View the bill summary
      • USBC Insight: There are notable gaps in funding for infant and young child feeding. Earlier this month, the USBC delivered a joint letter signed by 84 organizations urging Congress to direct $10 million in supplemental funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for infant and young child feeding in emergencies. While the House version of the bill did not include these provisions, the HEROES Act now moves to the Senate for consideration, where the $10 million funding request will be reconsidered for inclusion via the conference process.
    • The Health Force and Resilience Force Act of 2020 (S.3606/H.R.6808) has been introduced in the House and Senate. The bill would establish a "Health Force," which would recruit, train, and employ workers, expanding the public health workforce for COVID-19 response and strengthen national capacity to meet the country's longer-term public health needs. Post-pandemic, Health Force activities would include a range of public health work, including providing lactation support. Read the Senate press release. Read the House press release.
  • HHS: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration has awarded $20 million to increase telehealth access and infrastructure for providers and families to help prevent and respond to COVID-19. The funds will increase capability, capacity and access to telehealth and distant care services for providers, pregnant women, children, adolescents and families, and will assist telehealth providers with cross-state licensure to improve access to health care during the pandemic. Funding has been awarded to the American Academy of Pediatrics, Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, Family Voices, Inc., and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. 
    • USBC Insight: This funding was included in the third Congressional COVID funding bill, the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was passed into law on Friday, March 27. Though breastfeeding is not specifically mentioned in the HHS announcement, telehealth lactation service subawards are allowable under this funding mechanism.
  • NACCHO: The National Association of County and City Health Officials has launched the interactive "COVID-19 Data Lab." The interactive tool includes county-level data on COVID-19 cases, the demographics of the communities that are currently being impacted, and emergent trends.
  • Penn State ECHO: Pennsylvania State University Clinical and Translational Science Institute's Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) has released a video recording titled "COVID-19: Breastfeeding During the Pandemic." The presentation seeks to inform healthcare providers and administration of the latest best practices in emergency preparedness and patient treatment for COVID-19, with a focus on Hispanic families.
  • R4PHTC: The Region IV Public Health Training Center is hosting a webinar titled "Racial Disparities in COVID-19: A Public Health Perspective and Local Response," on Wednesday, May 27, from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. ET. Speakers will discuss some of the biological, behavioral, and contextual factors that affect COVID-19 transmission and severity, and what public health professionals can and have been doing to reduce the impact of this virus on individuals and communities.
  • WHO: The World Health Organization has updated their document titled "FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: Breastfeeding and COVID-19 For health care workers." The FAQ includes a decision tree on breastfeeding in the context of COVID-19. It has also been translated to Spanish.

COVID-19 News & Views

Breastfeeding Medicine (Correspondence): "Managing COVID-19-Positive Maternal–Infant Dyads: An Italian Experience"

Fuller Project for International Reporting: "Pregnant Black Women Navigate Two Public Health Crises During COVID-19 in Milwaukee"

* Mom2Mom Global blog: "Pregnancy, Birth, and #COVID19"

* National WIC Association:

Reuters: "Separated by coronavirus, Malaysian mothers in Singapore freeze breast milk for babies at home"

National News

WIC Act Introduced in House, summarized from Congress

The Wise Investment in Our Children Act (WIC Act) (H.R. 6811) has been introduced in the House. The bill permits state agencies administering the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) 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. An identical bill was introduced in the Senate last July. Read the press release. Member highlights include:

* Webinar on Breastfeeding and Safe Sleep, summarized from MIBFN

The Michigan Breastfeeding Network has released an on-demand webinar titled "Breastfeeding and Safe Sleep." The presentation discusses the importance of using an integrated approach to promoting breastfeeding and safe sleep, the rationale for promoting safe sleep, including AAP and WHO recommendations, and an acknowledgement of the history of tension among advocates and challenges inherent in the current safe sleep guidelines. The presentation also highlights strategies that move toward an integrated approach to breastfeeding and safe sleep, specifically touching on the National Institute for Children's Healthy Quality's National Action Partnership to Promote Safe Sleep Improvement and Innovation Network.

Study on Physician Mothers and Breastfeeding, summarized from Breastfeeding Medicine

Breastfeeding Medicine has published an article titled "Physician Mothers and Breastfeeding: A Cross-Sectional Survey." The article discusses the results of a cross-sectional online study of female physicians with at least one biological child, and explores infant-feeding intentions and behavior of physician mothers as well as their breastfeeding enablers and obstacles. The authors of the article concluded that both maternal infant-feeding intentions and work-related factors play important roles in physician mothers' infant-feeding behavior, including breastfeeding duration and exclusivity. They also concluded that longer maternity leave, regulations to support breastfeeding among working mothers, and workplace support might significantly improve physician mothers' breastfeeding duration.

Equity Lens

* Clinical Protocol on Lactation Care for LGBTQ+ Parents, summarized from ABM

The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine has published "ABM Clinical Protocol #33: Lactation Care for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Plus Patients." The protocol seeks to provide guidance to those caring for individuals who identify as LGBTQ+, including induced lactation and colactation, the effects of transition-related care on pregnancy and breast/chestfeeding, and the importance of language in creating a respectful health care environment. The protocol also includes considerations for future research and supports for LGBTQ+ parents.

Podcast Series on Black Birthing Experiences, summarized from NATAL

NATAL has launched a documentary podcast series where Black parents tell their stories about pregnancy, birthing, and postpartum care, in their own words. In addition to parent stories, the series also plans to hear from birth workers, medical professionals, researchers, and advocates fighting daily for better care for Black birthing parents.

Collective Impact Connection

+ Statement on Pasteurized Donor Human Milk and COVID-19, summarized from PDHM Constellation

The Pasteurized Donor Human Milk (PDHM) Constellation has published a document titled "Statement on Pasteurized Donor Human Milk & COVID-19." The statement emphasizes the importance of breastfeeding and use of pasteurized donor human milk for maternal and infant health during the COVID-19 pandemic. The statement also includes information on systemic racial and health inequities and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, as well as action steps for perinatal organizations to promote access to human milk. Learn more about the work of the PDHM Constellation.

Webinar on Racial Bias in Funding, summarized from SSIR

The Stanford Social Innovation Review, in partnership with The Bridgespan Group, is hosting a webinar titled "Overcoming the Racial Bias in Funding: Breaking Down Barriers to Capital" on Tuesday, June 2, from 2-3 p.m. ET. The session will explore original research that identifies the major drivers of racial disparities in funding in the social sector. The presenters will discuss the racial funding gap and share their first-hand experiences about what has and has not worked, in addition to how their organizations have endeavored to improve their own practices.

News & Views

* CDC Foundation Blog: "New Report Examines How Law And Policy Can Increase Breastfeeding Rates, Leading To Better Health Outcomes For Mothers And Babies"

Forbes: "Which Employment Laws/Policies Actually Help Pregnant Workers?"

Institute for Justice Press Release: "Georgia Lactation Consultants Score Major Win at Georgia Supreme Court"

Jackson State University News Release: "W.K. Kellogg Foundation awards $390K grant to encourage African American breastfeeding"

The Washington Post: "'Being pregnant changes everything': The game industry awkwardly grapples with maternity"

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