Weekly Wire: May 28, 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
    • Conversation on AANHPI Breastfeeding Week 2021
    • Promote Your Organization at the USBC Conference
    • Thank You for Making the Welcome Congress Campaign A Success!
    • Welcome New USBC Members: Louisiana Breastfeeding Coalition and South Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition
    • USBC Supports...
  • Special Section on the PUMP Act
  • Special Section on 40th Anniversary of the WHO Code
  • International News
    • New Research on Benefits of Kangaroo Care for Small Infants, summarized from WHO
  • National News
    • MMWR on Disparities in Breastfeeding Based on Birth Certificate Data, summarized from CDC
    • EMPower Best Practice Webinar, summarized from CGBI
    • Subcommittee Hearing on Paid Leave and Child Care, summarized from Congres
  • State and Community News
    • Workshop on Maternal Health Equity, summarized from NASEM
    • Webinar on Infant Health in Indiana, summarized from The Milk Bank
  • Equity Lens
    • Workshop on Maternal Health Equity, summarized from NASEM
    • Report on BIPOC Response to Paid Leave Program in Washington, summarized from EOI
  • News & Views

USBC Updates

Conversation on AANHPI Breastfeeding Week 2021

The U.S. Breastfeeding Committee published a blog post titled "Reclaiming Our Tradition: AANHPI Breastfeeding Week 2021." The blog is a conversation between To-wen Tseng, from the San Diego County Breastfeeding Coalition and Asian Pacific Islander Breastfeeding Task Force, and Nikia Sankofa, from the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee. To-wen and Nikia discuss breastfeeding and Asian American and Pacific Islander (API) communities and the increase in racism and violence against API communities. The blog includes an official announcement that the third week of August 2021 will be the very first national Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Breastfeeding Week.

Promote Your Organization at the USBC Conference

The deadline to become an exhibitor or sponsor at the National Breastfeeding Conference & Convening is extended to Tuesday, June 1. Exhibitors at the June 9-11 conference will have the opportunity to connect with attendees during dedicated times each day of the event through their virtual exhibit booth. An NBCC networking event sponsorship includes a five-minute speaking slot as well as an exhibitor booth. This is a great way to promote your organization and connect with lactation advocates from across the country! The last day for attendee registration is Sunday, June 7.

Thank You for Making the Welcome Congress Campaign A Success!

The U.S. Breastfeeding Committee launched the Welcome Congress campaign on Mother's Day. During the campaign, lactation advocates urged policymakers to take swift action on these critical breastfeeding policy priorities: federal funding for breastfeeding, infant and young child feeding in emergencies, access to breastfeeding support and supplies, paid family and medical leave, and maternity care practices. More than 140 organizations signed on to a joint letter which was shared with members of Congress by constituents through our online action tool. Further amplifying these efforts, USBC met with eight Congressional offices from both sides of the aisle to discuss how we can move these priorities forward.

  • Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS)
  • Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ)
  • Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
  • Representative Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14)
  • Representative Katherine Clark (D-MA-5)
  • Representative Tom Cole (R-OK-04)
  • Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21)
  • Representative Lois Frankel (D-FL-21)

Although the campaign has ended, the USBC will continue to prioritize the policy priorities chosen by the First Food field in future campaigns and conversations with policymakers.

Welcome New USBC Members: Louisiana Breastfeeding Coalition and South Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition

The Louisiana Breastfeeding Coalition (LBC) held its inaugural meeting in 2008 and currently operates under the auspices of the Southeast Louisiana Area Health Education Center. The LBC mission is to create a culture in which breastfeeding is the norm for all babies in Louisiana. The coalition works on state and local levels to address the many factors that influence a family's ability to start and continue breastfeeding. LBC works to secure support for breastfeeding in health care, workplaces, and child care centers. LBC supports families by providing education through various channels, including a website that houses resources and information. LBC continues to work towards building an effective, diverse coalition and is starting to dive deeper into its equity work.

The South Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition (SCBC) mission is to make breastfeeding the societal norm for feeding infants and young children in South Carolina. SCBC began in the mid-2000s and hosts quarterly education meetings and bi-annual conferences. Every year SCBC participates in World Breastfeeding Week events with other community members and secured a Governor's Proclamation of WBW in 2020. In the past two years, SCBS has been reaching out to new and diverse stakeholders in the state in order to better serve all families. SCBC is working on a number of important issues such as insurance reimbursement for lactation support and emergency preparedness. Future advocacy efforts will address breastfeeding within the contexts of incarceration, child custody rulings, and jury duty service. The SCBC website is a resource hub for parents, professionals, and businesses.

USBC Supports...

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

 1,000 Days: Letter to the Senate HELP Committee in support of paid leave and maternal and child health

Special Section on the PUMP Act

The Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act (S. 1658/H.R 3110) is continuing to progress in the House and Senate. The Break Time for Nursing Mothers law, passed in 2010, provided critical protections to ensure that employees have reasonable break time and a private place to pump during the workday. However, nearly one in four women of childbearing age are excluded from coverage and have no clear right to break time and space. The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act would expand coverage of the Break Time law to cover all workers and ensure that employees have access to remedies that are available for other violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The PUMP Act is sponsored by Senators Murkowski (R-AK), Merkley (D-OR), Booker (D-NJ), Casey (D-PA), and Duckworth (D-IL) in the Senate and Representatives Maloney (D-NY-12), Herrera Beutler (R-WA-3), Roybal-Allard (D-CA-40), Adams (D-NC-12), Underwood, (D-IL-14), and Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1) in the House. 

Highlights from the field include:

  • Chamber of Commerce: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce submitted a letter of support for the PUMP Act to House Education & Labor Committee leadership. The letter describes an amendment in the nature of a substitute offered by Representative Adamsrepresenting the product of collaborative negotiations between employers and advocates on the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act. The letter highlights the Chamber's strong support and notes that the compromise ensures employers would get clarity and a way to avoid litigation, and nursing mothers would be able to remain in the workforce.
  • Congress:
    • House Education & Labor Committee:
      • The House Education & Labor Committee held a markup and passed the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act out of committee, clearing the bill for a vote on the House floor. The hearing included a discussion of several proposed amendments. Amendments passed by the committee include extending protections to two years; expanding protections to include lactating workers facing stillbirth, surrogacy, and adoption; reducing the availability of an undue hardship exemption to employers with 25 or fewer employees; and the addition of language to allow an employer 10 days to improve the space allocated for nursing mothers before an employee can proceed with seeking relief from a court.
      • The House Education & Labor Committee published a fact sheet on the PUMP Act. The fact sheet describes how the legislation would close gaps in the federal Break Time for Nursing Mothers law as well as the positive impact of breastfeeding on infant and maternal health.
    • Senate HELP Committee:
    • NEA: The National Education Association submitted a letter of support to Senate HELP Committee members in support of the PUMP Act. The letter highlights gaps in the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law, which excludes certain categories of employees, including educators, and notes that votes on this issue may be included in the NEA Report Card for the 117th Congress.
    • MomsRising: MomsRising published the #IPumpedHere Story Booklet. The stories and pictures in the booklet represent a small sampling of working moms across the country who struggle to meet their breastfeeding goals. The booklet includes an open letter to Congress signed by over 13,000 MomsRising members from across the country.
    • USBC: The U.S. Breastfeeding Committee released a letter of support for the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act. The letter was delivered to all members of the House Ed & Labor Committee ahead of the bill markup urging members to vote in favor of this important legislation.

PUMP Act News & Views

House Education & Labor Committee press release: "Committee Advances Bills to Protect Nursing Mothers and Older Workers"

Must Read Alaska: "Murkowski measure to address infant mortality advances in Senate"

Senate HELP Committee:

Senator Merkley press release: "Merkley, Murkowski, Booker Applaud Bipartisan Committee Passage of Legislation to Expand Breastfeeding Protections at Work"

Senator Murkowski press release: "Murkowski's Maternal Health Bills Advance from Committee"

Special Section on 40th Anniversary of the WHO Code

This month marks the 40th anniversary of the adoption of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes by the 34th World Health Assembly. Several organizations released statements in celebration of the anniversary.

WHO/UNICEF: The World Health Organization and UNICEF released a joint statement titled "WHO/UNICEF statement on the 40th anniversary of the international code of marketing breastmilk substitutes." The statement describes the anniversary as an opportunity to mark the significant progress made in protecting and promoting the incomparable benefits of breastfeeding, but also a reminder of the work still to be done.

International News

New Research on Benefits of Kangaroo Care for Small Infants, summarized from WHO

The World Health Organization has published the results of a new clinical trial in the New England Journal of Medicine in an article titled "Immediate 'Kangaroo Mother Care' and Survival of Infants with Low Birth Weight." The trial showed that immediate kangaroo mother care, which involves skin-to-skin contact with the mother, and exclusive breastfeeding, started as soon as a preterm or low birthweight baby is born, dramatically improves survival. Read the press release

National News

MMWR on Disparities in Breastfeeding Based on Birth Certificate Data, summarized from CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a new Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report titled "Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Breastfeeding Initiation ─ United States, 2019." CDC analyzed 2019 National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) birth certificate data for over 3 million births from 48 states. Birth certificate data indicate that the magnitude of racial/ethnic disparities in breastfeeding initiation varies across states as do the racial/ethnic groups corresponding to each state’s largest disparity. CDC uses the National Immunization Survey (NIS) for routine surveillance of breastfeeding initiation, duration, and exclusivity. However, relatively small sample sizes prohibit routine estimation of breastfeeding by race/ethnicity at the state and territorial levels. NVSS has data only on breastfeeding initiation, but as a census of all births, it has a robust sample size, which allows examination of breastfeeding disparities at the state and territorial levels. National breastfeeding initiation rates calculated from 2019 birth certificate data are comparable to rates estimated from NIS survey data (84.1% among infants born in 2017). Initiation rates are also generally similar across both data sources for most states and racial/ethnic groups. 

EMPower Best Practice Webinar, summarized from CGBI

The Carolina Global Breastfeeding Initiative is hosting an informational webinar on the EMPower Best Practices program on Thursday, June 3, from 1-2- p.m. ET. The EMPower Best Practices program is a a hospital-based quality improvement initiative that provides training and technical assistance to improve knowledge and skills in evidence-based maternity practices supportive of optimal infant nutrition with a focus on diverse, at-risk, and underserved populations. Webinar speakers will discuss hospital eligibility requirements, the program's training content and time commitment, and the overall benefits of EMPower Best Practices.

Subcommittee Hearing on Paid Leave and Child Care, summarized from Congress

The House Ways & Means Committee, Subcommittee on Worker & Family Support held a legislative hearing titled "Universal Paid Leave and Guaranteed Access to Child Care." During the hearing, members of Congress addressed the critical need for access to paid family and medical leave and affordable child care. Expert witnesses included speakers from USBC member organizations MomsRising and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The committee will accept statements for the hearing record through Thursday, June 10.

State and Community News

Scholarship Supporting BIPOC Lactation Support Providers, summarized from Indiana Breastfeeding Coalition

The Indiana Breastfeeding Coalition opened applications for the Terry Jo Curtis "Every Ounce Counts" Scholarship. The scholarship was established in 2018 to create a more robust representation of people color in the field of lactation in the state of Indiana. Scholarship recipients can use the funds to attend conferences or training courses, including virtual events.

Webinar on Infant Health in Indiana, summarized from The Milk Bank

The Milk Bank is hosting a webinar titled "The State of Infant Health" on Tuesday, June 8, from 12-1 p.m. ET. Speakers will discuss current infant health and mortality rates in Indiana and highlight innovative efforts focused on improving infant health in Indiana.

Equity Lens

Workshop on Maternal Health Equity, summarized from NASEM

A planning committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will convene a public workshop titled "Advancing Maternal Health Equity and Reducing Maternal Mortality" on Monday, June 7, and Tuesday, June 8, from 11 a.m.–5:30 p.m. ET each day. Speakers will discuss what is known about maternal health and mortality in the United States and explore how communities and healthcare systems can improve outcomes for pregnant people. The workshop will also review needs for improving future data collection and research on this issue.

Report on BIPOC Response to Paid Leave Program in Washington, summarized from EOI

The Economic Opportunity Institute released a report titled "Responses of BIPOC Workers to Washington's Paid Family & Medical Leave Program." The report is based on EOI's listening sessions conducted with people of color in partnership with state and community organizations. The report affirms a consistent enthusiasm for the program among people of color. It also identifies a need to address obstacles to the paid leave program including ongoing racial and gender stereotypes, a lack of worker protections to ensure access, the need for a simple and speedy application and benefits payment process, and a lack of consistent and clear education on the program.

News & Views

Amplify! (USLCA blog): "Energizing Your Community for World Breastfeeding Week / National Breastfeeding Month"

Family Values @ Work blog post:

Forbes: "How to Get a Breast Pump Through Insurance"

House Education & Labor Committee press release: "Secretary Walsh, House and Senate Democratic Leaders Stress Importance of Child Care Proposal in American Families Plan"

Irth App video: "The Irth app presents: Media and Motherhood-Rewriting Our Story"

MMBNE blog post: "NICU Nurse Donates Milk to Help Preemies: Monica's Story"

NJ.com: "Doctors, nurses will have to complete bias training to help reduce alarming death rate among Black mothers in N.J."

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