Weekly Wire: July 18, 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
- August is National Breastfeeding Month: Share Your Plans!
- Shop National Breastfeeding Month items in the USBC Store
- Special Section on Federal Appropriations for Breastfeeding
- National News
- Survey on COVID-19 'Bright Spots', summarized from NCIT
- Report on IHS Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, summarized from Law and Health Policy Project
- Scientific Report on Dietary Guidelines Sent to USDA/HHS, summarized from DGAC
- State/Community News
- Workplace Lactation Accommodation Bill Signed Into Law, summarized from South Carolina
- Equity Lens
- Webinar on Maternal Health Disparities, summarized from Lamaze/BMHC
- News & Views
* denotes a USBC member organization news item + denotes a USBC-affiliated constellation news item
August is National Breastfeeding Month: Share Your Plans!
National Breastfeeding Month is right around the corner. This year's theme is Many Voices United. Each week in August, the USBC will publish a special National Breastfeeding Month section in the Weekly Wire highlighting activities and resources from the field. Please share your plans and public materials by submitting to our online form. Submissions may also be shared on social media or to the USBC learning communities.
Shop National Breastfeeding Month Items in the USBC Store
Visit the USBC Shop to find everything you need to celebrate National Breastfeeding Month! The store offers a variety of promotional items, including posters, postcards, and stickers. In addition, you'll find t-shirts, hoodies, baby onesies, travel mugs, tote bags, and more featuring the Support Changes Everything and SUPPORT: Families, Babies, Breastfeeding designs. Shop today to ensure delivery in time for your August events! The USBC receives a small percentage of the proceeds from every item sold, so your purchase today can help create lasting change for breastfeeding families.
Special Section on Federal Appropriations for Breastfeeding
Each year funding is allocated to a variety of federal programs that include breastfeeding support through the federal appropriations process. Appropriations for breastfeeding help build and strengthen critical programs and initiatives to improve maternity care practices, increase access to peer & professional support, ensure continuity of breastfeeding care, increase support for breastfeeding employees, and address disparities in breastfeeding rates. The USBC closely monitors the federal budget process and mobilizes the field to take action during strategic moments in the negotiation process.
The House Appropriations Committee approved a series of fiscal year (FY) 2021 appropriations bills which include provisions that impact breastfeeding families. This is an early step in the federal budget process. Stay tuned for news and updates as budget negotiations continue. Highlights include:
- The Committee approved the FY 2021 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. The bill includes $9 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Hospitals Promoting Breastfeeding program, level funding from the FY 2020 enacted level. In addition, the bill includes $66.95 million for the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health program, a $7 million increase from the FY 2020 enacted level. Read the conference report.
- USBC Insight: The Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill includes funding for a variety of additional programs that support breastfeeding families as well as a range of Congressional directives related to infant feeding. The USBC published a detailed analysis titled "House Appropriations Committee Advances FY2021 LHHS Appropriations Bill." Urge your members of Congress to support this critical public health priority with USBC's "Ask Congress to Invest in Breastfeeding Families" action tool.
- The Committee approved the FY 2021 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. The bill includes $5.75 billion in funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), a $250 million decrease from FY 2020. The bill also sustains last year's increased investment in WIC's Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program, continuing funding at $90 million. Read the conference report. Highlights from the field include:
- National WIC Association: "House Unveils FY 2021 Appropriations Bills, Including WIC Funding"
- The Committee approved the FY 2021 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. The bill includes $5 million for the Improving Maternal Health Initiative, which includes encouragement for the Indian Health Service (IHS) to establish a pilot program to determine the most effective ways to educate IHS health care providers on how to evaluate risk factors that could interfere with successfully meeting breastfeeding goals; provide necessary support to American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) mothers to prevent or address delayed initiation of milk production during the critical period immediately following birth; and provide support to AI/AN mothers to help them understand the benefits of long-term breastfeeding and improve clinically recommended rates, particularly when they return to work. The Committee also directs IHS to coordinate with employers within the community to develop breastfeeding support recommendations within the workplace that encourage job retention. Read the conference report.
- The Committee approved the FY 2021 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill. The bill directs the Office of Management and Budget and the General Services Administration to provide a written report to the Committee detailing the steps that have been taken to implement the Fairness for Breastfeeding Mothers Act. Read the conference report.
- USBC Insight: The Fairness for Breastfeeding Mothers Act was signed into law in July 2019. The act requires that certain public buildings that contain a public restroom also provide a lactation room, other than a bathroom, that is hygienic and available for use by a member of the public.
- The Committee approved the FY 2021 Homeland Security appropriations bill. The bill urges the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to continue to ensure that breastfeeding mothers impacted by disasters continue to have appropriate breastfeeding services and supplies. The bill also encourages FEMA to take additional steps to clarify that the cost to shelters of breastfeeding equipment is eligible for reimbursement. This encouragement was also included in the FY 2020 Homeland Security appropriations bill. Read the conference report.
Report on IHS Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, summarized from Law and Health Policy Project
The Law and Health Policy Project, a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CDC Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation published a Bright Spot report titled "Promoting Breastfeeding Through Hospital Policy: The Indian Health Service's Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative." Created to accompany the "The Role of Law and Policy in Assisting Families to Reach Healthy People's Maternal, Infant, and Child Health Breastfeeding Goals in the United States" report, the Bright Spot describes the Indian Health Service's efforts to increase breastfeeding rates in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.
USBC Insight: Cheryl Lebedevitch, Senior Workplace Program Manager and Policy Analyst at the USBC, served as one of three co-authors on the groundbreaking report. In addition, Amelia Psmythe Seger, USBC Deputy Director, and Megan Renner, founding USBC Executive Director, served on the Report Working Group.
Scientific Report on Dietary Guidelines Sent to USDA/HHS, summarized from DGAC
The 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee published a document titled "Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee." The Scientific Report includes the DGAC's conclusions and advice to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the committee's rationale, and recommendation for future research. In addition, USDA has released a public comment opportunity on the Scientific Report. USDA and HHS will consider the Advisory Committee's Scientific Report, along with public and agency comments, as the Departments develop the next edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The deadline to submit public comments is Thursday, August 13.
USBC Insight: The 2020-2025 edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) will include, for the first time ever, nutrition recommendations for infants, toddlers, and pregnant and lactating parents. Using the USBC tool, more than 900 individuals submitted public comments urging the DGAC to support breastfeeding in their Scientific Report and in the DGA. Thank you for taking action!
Survey on COVID-19 'Bright Spots', summarized from NCIT
The National Collaborative for Infants and Toddlers is administering a survey titled "Building New Foundations: Prenatal to Five COVID-19 Crisis to Opportunity." NCIT is conducting a scan of public sector leaders, policy analysts and advocates, service providers, and other key informants to understand bright spots of reform during the pandemic and to capture new ideas to strengthen and build new foundations for systems of care. The survey is focused on the prenatal-to-age five population (young children and families) with a special interest in systems, services, and practices for infants and toddlers. The survey will remain open through Friday, July 31.
Workplace Lactation Accommodation Bill Signed Into Law, summarized from South Carolina
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed into law House Bill 3200, also known as the South Carolina Lactation Support Act. The law requires all South Carolina employers to provide reasonable break time, paid or unpaid, and reasonable space to workers wishing to express breast milk while at work. It also prohibits employers from discriminating against employees for choosing to express breast milk in the workplace. Media highlights include:
- Hilton Head Island Packet: "Lactating employees protected from discrimination, guaranteed break time by new SC law"
- JD Supra: "South Carolina's New Lactation Support Act"
*Webinar on Maternal Health Disparities, summarized from Lamaze/BMHC
Lamaze International and the Black Maternal Health Caucus will host a webinar titled "Evidence-Based Childbirth Education: A Critical Strategy to Improve Birth Outcomes and Reduce Maternal Health Disparities" on Thursday, July 23, at 12 p.m. ET. Speakers will discuss how childbirth education can play a part in the collective effort to reduce maternal health disparities and make a significant difference in improving maternal and childbirth outcomes for Black mothers.
News & Views
Journal of Perinatology: "COVID-19 and breastfeeding: what's the risk?"
New York Times: "Study of Coronavirus in Pregnant Women Finds Striking Racial Differences"
Savannah Morning News: "HART TO HEART: Breastfeeding is still best even during COVID-19"