Weekly Wire: April 2, 2021

Weekly Wire: April 2, 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 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
    • Calling All Equity Experts!
    • Share Your Story with the USBC!
    • The USBC Supports...
  • Special Section on COVID-19
  • National News
    • National Public Health Week 2021, summarized from APHA
    • Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Passed Out of Committee, summarized from Congress
    • Sign on Letter Opportunity for Businesses in Support of Paid Leave, summarized from PL+US
    • Sign on Letter Opportunity in Support of Child Nutrition Programs, summarized from NANA
    • Sign on Letter Opportunity to Support DGA Implementation, summarized from AND/UCS
    • WPSI Committee Nominations, summarized from WPSI
  • State & Community News
    • Partnership to Reduce Sleep-Related Infant Deaths in D.C., summarized from NIH
    • County Health Rankings, summarized from RWJF
    • Training Opportunity on Paid Leave and Support Black Families in L.A. County, summarized from California
    • Report on Implementing Paid Leave in New Jersey, summarized from New America
  • Equity Lens
    • Funding Opportunities Addressing Health Disparities and Health Equity, summarized from NICHD
    • 2020 Recap of Activities, summarized from Black Breastfeeding Caucus
  • News & Views

 MBPSymbol_Plum.jpg denotes a USBC member organization news item  CollectiveImpact.jpg denotes a USBC-affiliated constellation news item

USBC Updates

Calling All Equity Experts!

The U.S. Breastfeeding Committee is working to identify a cohort of equity experts to be included in a directory on the USBC website. This new resource will make it easier for individuals and organizations in our network to find the support they need to move forward in their equity journey. Individuals with experience supporting organizations to operationalize equity are encouraged to complete the equity champion form by Friday, April 30.

Share Your Story with the USBC!

The USBC is seeking breastfeeding-related stories that pertain to our five policy priorities for the 117th Congressional Session. The USBC works with our members and partners to educate policymakers and push for breastfeeding-friendly policy and practice changes for all families. When decision-makers hear the real-life stories shared by their constituents, it helps them understand what is at stake and why action is needed. Stories can be about positive or negative experiences. Every voice is valuable! For the Welcome Congress Campaign, we are particularly interested in stories that address the impact of:

  1. Federal funding for breastfeeding
  2. Infant & young child feeding in emergencies
  3. Access to breastfeeding support & supplies
  4. Paid family & medical leave
  5. Maternity care practices

USBC Supports...

The USBC joined the following organizational sign on letters from the field:

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:

  • MBPSymbol_Plum.jpg AMCHP/AVAC/TFAH: The Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs, Adult Vaccine Access Coalition, and Trust for America's Health are hosting a virtual briefing titled "Maternal vaccinations before, during and after the COVID-19 Pandemic: How policy makers can equitably protect our nations mothers and babies" on Thursday, April 15, from 2-3:15 p.m. ET. Speakers will present on the importance of maternal vaccinations in both the age of COVID-19 and prior, disparities in maternal vaccinations for women of color, and how access and hesitancy impact these vaccination rates.
  • CBPP: The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released a report titled "Building an Equitable Recovery Requires Investing in Children, Supporting Workers, and Expanding Health Coverage." The report outlines policy recommendations for a pandemic recovery package in three areas: investing in children, supporting workers and those struggling in the labor market, and expanding health coverage. The section on supporting workers specifically highlights the need to create a national paid leave program and expand child care assistance.
  • MBPSymbol_Plum.jpg CDC: The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention launched the "V-safe COVID-19 Vaccine Pregnancy Registry." V-safe is a smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after a person receives a COVID-19 vaccine. The v-safe COVID-19 Vaccine Pregnancy Registry is for v-safe participants who self-identify as pregnant at the time of vaccination or shortly thereafter. CDC will evaluate information collected through v-safe to educate the public about how COVID-19 vaccinations might affect pregnancy. In addition, this information will be used by CDC and the Food and Drug Administration to guide recommendations on COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy.
  • Frontiers in Sociology: The journal Frontiers in Sociology published an article titled "Creativity, Resilience and Resistance: Black Birthworkers' Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic." The article documents the experiences of Black birthworkers, including lactation consultants, supporting pregnant and birthing people and new mamas during the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.
  • MILK Research Lab at UCSF: The Motivating Interdisciplinary Lactation Knowledge (MILK) Research Lab at the University of California San Francisco announced a study titled "Examining the Impact of COVID-19 on Infant Feeding Practices." Researchers plan to examine pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and infant feeding experiences during the pandemic. They are recruiting California-based women and birthing people, aged 18 years and older, who have given birth in the last 12 months.
  • NANA: The National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity is coordinating an organizational sign on letter urging Congress to prioritize funding for child nutrition programs during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter calls for support of school meal programs, electronic benefit transfer, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and SNAP nutrition education. Organizations are invited to sign on by completing the online form by Friday, April 9.
  • MBPSymbol_Plum.jpg NPA: The National Perinatal Association launched a free one-hour online course titled "Giving Birth During the COVID-19 Pandemic." The course covers how to support the mental health of pregnant and birthing women through the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of trauma-informed care.
  •  MBPSymbol_Plum.jpg ZERO TO THREE/CLASP: ZERO TO THREE and the Center for Law and Social Policy are hosting a webinar titled "What's in the American Rescue Plan for Infants, Toddlers and Their Families?" on Tuesday, April 6, at 2 p.m. ET. Speakers will discuss equitable and effective state implementation strategies for the American Rescue Plan that build strong foundations for families with young children.

National News

MBPSymbol_Plum.jpg National Public Health Week 2021, summarized from APHA

National Public Health Week (NPHW) will take place Monday, April 5, through Sunday, April 11. The 2021 theme is Building Bridges to Better Health. The American Public Health Association is hosting a variety of NPHW activities, including a Twitter chat at the hashtag #NPHWchat on Wednesday, April 7, at 2 p.m. ET. APHA also published a toolkit with information on ways that organizations and individuals can participate this NPHW.

Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Passed Out of Committee, summarized from Congress

The House Education and Labor Committee held a mark up session for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (H.R. 1065) and passed the bill out of committee. The PWFA would help eliminate discrimination and promote women's health and economic security by ensuring reasonable workplace accommodations for workers whose ability to perform the functions of a job are limited by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission "Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues" states that lactation is a pregnancy-related medical condition. Read the press release.

Sign on Letter Opportunity for Businesses in Support of Paid Leave, summarized from PL+US

Paid Leave for the United States (PL+US) mobilized an open letter to Congress from businesses calling for a public policy solution for paid family and medical leave. More than 200 brands and business leaders have signed onto the open letter in support of a comprehensive federal paid family and medical leave social insurance program in the United States. Businesses of all sizes are invited to sign on via the online form

MBPSymbol_Plum.jpg Sign on Letter Opportunity to Support DGA Implementation, summarized from AND/UCS

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Union of Concerned Scientists are coordinating an organizational sign on letter urging additional investment in the implementation of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans in the fiscal year 2022 federal budget. The letter calls on Congress to support this funding with the aim of reducing diet-related health disparities and supporting healthy eating for all people. Organizations can sign on via the online form before Thursday, April 8.

USBC Insight: The 2020-2025 edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans includes, for the first time, recommended healthy dietary patterns for infants and toddlers as well as pregnant and lactating women. 

Report on Executive Branch Actions to Improve Maternal Health, summarized from CAP

The Center for American Progress published an issue brief titled "Building on the ACA: Administrative Actions to Improve Maternal Health." The report outlines actions that the Biden-Harris administration and state governors can take to address inequities in maternal health care coverage and access, including building on recent legislative developments, such as the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan, and improving upon the gains made under the Affordable Care Act.

WPSI Committee Nominations, summarized from WPSI

The Women's Preventive Services Initiatives has opened committee member nominations for the 2021–22 grant year. Organizations can nominate candidates for the Multidisciplinary Steering Committee or the Dissemination & Implementation Steering Committee to help shape the future of women's health in the United States. Committee nominations must be submitted by Monday, April 12.

USBC Insight: The Women's Preventive Services Initiative recommends comprehensive lactation support services (including counseling, education, and breastfeeding equipment and supplies) during the antenatal, perinatal, and postpartum periods to ensure the successful initiation and maintenance of breastfeeding.

State & Community News

MBPSymbol_Plum.jpg Partnership to Reduce Sleep-Related Infant Deaths in D.C., summarized from NICHD

The National Institutes of Health, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the government of the District of Columbia announced a partnership to understand information or service gaps related to safe infant sleep and determine how those gaps contribute to deaths and risks for families in D.C. Through the D.C. Safe Sleep Education and Outreach project, the partners will also develop and implement an outreach and awareness campaign to inform D.C. parents and caregivers about how they can bridge these gaps.

County Health Rankings, summarized from RWJF

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released the 2021 County Health Rankings. The annual rankings include data on the health of nearly every county in the nation to help communities understand what influences the health of residents and identify challenges and opportunities to improve these outcomes for all. The "What Works for Health" strategies database provides evidence summaries and ratings for policies, programs, and systems changes that can improve health, including breastfeeding promotion programs, workplace supports for breastfeeding, and paid family leave. Join RWJF on Tuesday, April 13, from 3-4 p.m. ET for the "County Health Rankings & Roadmaps 101" webinar to learn more.

Training Opportunity on Paid Leave and Support for Black Families in L.A. County, summarized from California

The California Work & Family Coalition, Black Infants & Families LA, and County of LA Public Health are seeking to recruit 50 participants who are African American parents, healthcare professionals, doulas, faith-based members, and others who provide support and services to Black families in Los Angeles County. After completing the training series, participants will have the opportunity to apply for the role of Community Support Person, someone who shares paid family leave information in their community/work. The deadline to sign up is Monday, April 5.

Report on Implementing Paid Leave in New Jersey, summarized from New America

The Better Life Lab and the New Practice Lab at New America published a report titled "Implementing Paid Family and Medical Leave: Lessons for State Administrators from Research in New Jersey." The report shares the lessons learned from a discovery sprint team project, in partnership with the state of New Jersey, to help improve the delivery of its paid family and medical leave program. The authors highlight key implementation strategies for administrators in other states and advocates interested in paid leave policy. The report focuses on communicating about paid family and medical leave, outreach strategies, applications and processing, and IT infrastructure. The report is accompanied by two blog posts:

Equity Lens

MBPSymbol_Plum.jpg Funding Opportunities Addressing Health Disparities and Health Equity, summarized from NICHD

The National Institutes of Health Common Fund issued two funding opportunities announcements (FOAs) through the UNITE initiative. Both FOAs focus on addressing health disparities and advancing equity by conducting new research. "Transformative Research to Address Health Disparities and Advance Health Equity" and "Transformative Research to Address Health Disparities and Advance Health Equity at Minority Serving Institutions" will support collaborative investigative teams or individual scientists who propose unusually innovative research projects, which, if successful, would have a major impact on eliminating health disparities and advancing health equity. Letters of intent are due Wednesday, April 28.

2020 Recap of Activities, summarized from BBC

The Black Breastfeeding Caucus published a 2020 recap that highlights the activities of each of their five committees. The recap also includes information on the BBC's Annual Meeting and their plans for 2021.

News & Views

MBPSymbol_Plum.jpg BMBFA press release: "BMBFA Receives Support from the DMC Foundation"

MBPSymbol_Plum.jpg Baby-Friendly USA blog post: "Update from BFUSA: Virtual Assessments"

CAP blog post: "Breadwinning Mothers Are Critical to Families' Economic Security"

IJERPH Viewpoint: "Marketing Breastfeeding Substitutes: A Discussion Document"

Policy Watch (Kaiser Family Foundation blog): "Postpartum Coverage Extension in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021"

MBPSymbol_Plum.jpg Amplify! (USLCA blog): "The Idea that Spawned an Entire Profession"

Working Mother: "One Woman's Fight to Make The Postal Service A Better Place for Working Moms"

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