Weekly Wire: September 2, 2018

Please note: Inclusion of an item in this e-newsletter does NOT imply endorsement or support of such item by the United States Breastfeeding Committee, unless specifically noted.

Special Section on Black Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month 

August was National Breastfeeding Month and Black Breastfeeding week was August 25-31!

The USBC's National Breastfeeding Month 2018 webpage highlighted four weekly themes:

  • Week 1: Policy Pulse 
    Finding Solutions: Small policy changes can go a long way toward supporting breastfeeding families
  • Week 2: Special Circumstances & Emergency Preparedness 
    Always Ready: Resources and guidance on how to manage feeding during an emergency
  • Week 3: Call to Action 
    Answering the Call: Everyone can help make breastfeeding easier
  • Week 4: Black Breastfeeding Week 
    Love on Top: On top of joy, on top of grief, on top of everything

Help continue building momentum beyond August by joining the conversation at #NBM18 and #BBW18. Highlights from the field include:


Federal News

Appropriations Updates, from Congress

The Senate has voted 85-7 to pass H.R.6157 - Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act, 2019an $857 billion spending package for fiscal year 2019. The bill was passed in a rare mid-August session. House and Senate lawmakers must merge opposing versions of the bills and get the President's signature, before funding runs out on September 30. Senate leaders merged defense spending with HHS and Labor/Education to reduce the possibility of President Trump vetoing separate bills due to lack of $5 billion in border wall funding. H.R. 6157 increases military pay raises, provides a $2.3 billion increase for HHS from 2018, including funding for Title V Maternal and Child Health programs, the National Institutes of Health, the opioid crisis, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other vital public health programs. Links to the amendments provide specific details.

USBC Insight: Funding for CDC's Breastfeeding Support programs has been included as part of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations since FY2012.  

Farm Bill Update, from Congress

Congressional leaders have reported plans to work on the Farm Bill, which funds the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) this week. The House and Senate version of the Farm Bill are diametrically different, and a Conference Committee will need to work out the differences between the versions. President Trump is strongly advocating for the work requirements in the House version, however recent data demonstrates that most SNAP recipients are already employed. Senators on the Conference Committee are averse to any bill that creates additional barriers to access.

USBC Insight: MomsRising has developed an easy action tool, talking points, and writing tips to help advocates write letters to editors of local newspapers in support of a Farm Bill that protects SNAP. 

Public Listening Sessions on Overtime Regulations, from DOL

The U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division has announced that they will host public listening sessions in September to gather views on the Part 541 white collar exemption regulations, often referred to as the "Overtime Rule." Issued under the Fair Labor Standards Act, these regulations implement exemptions from the overtime pay requirements for executive, administrative, professional, and certain other employees. The Department plans to update the Overtime Rule, and is interested in hearing the views and ideas of participants on possible revisions to the regulations. Listening sessions will be held in Atlanta, GA; Seattle, WA; Denver, CO; Kansas City, MO; and Providence, RI.

USBC Insight: Increasing the number of employees who are considered eligible for overtime (nonexempt) would also expand the right to workplace breastfeeding accommodations under the "Break Time for Nursing Mothers" law. Find additional information in the USBC's Policy Toolkit and in the USBC's 2017 Public Comments on Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees.

Pregnancy Crowdsourcing Data Tool Launched, from NICHD

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, along with USBC members and partners, has launched PregSource, an online crowdsourcing tool created to collect information directly from pregnant women. PregSource participants can enter data, including demographics, and complete questionnaires to help define a typical pregnancy, contributing to research intended to develop new strategies for improving maternity care and better understand aspects of the pregnancy experience. Participants can track their pregnancy, compare their data with others, and access relevant resources.

MOMMA's Act Introduced, from Congress

Representative Robin Kelly (D-IL-2), along with 30 co-sponsors has introduced the Mothers and Offspring Mortality and Morbidity Awareness (MOMMA's) Act in the House of Representatives. The MOMMA's Act is intended to change the mortality rate by offering better maternal and postpartum health care, including establishing and enforcing national emergency obstetric protocols, improving access to culturally-competent care, and expanding care access for mothers to the full post-partum period of one year.

Update to Public Health Website, from CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support, has announced that the State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Public Health Professionals Gateway is being renamed the "Public Health Professionals Gateway" to reflect how public health professionals identify with the work they do and highlight the significant changes being made to the site's organization and content. The gateway includes funding and training opportunities, tools, and public health resources. 

Employer Resource Update, from OWH

The Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health has restructured the Supporting Nursing Moms at Work: Employer Solutions (SNMW) section of womenshealth.gov. In order to restructure the content for mobile users, several of the case-studies have been removed. OWH used the results from their recent program evaluation to make the most important information easier to find. 


Member News

Maternal Mortality Action Tool, from NWA

The National WIC Association has launched an online action tool in support of the Maternal Health Accountability Act (S. 1112)/Preventing Maternal Deaths Act (H.R. 1318). Both bills would provide federal support for state Maternal Mortality Review Committees, helping to address the crisis of maternal mortality. Individuals can contact their Members of Congress through NWA's online tool.


Partner Updates

Global Breastfeeding Scorecard, from Global Breastfeeding Collective

The Global Breastfeeding Collective has released "Enabling women to breastfeed through better policies and programmes: Global breastfeeding scorecard 2018." The Global Breastfeeding Scorecard periodically reviews national progress on implementing seven actions needed to enable women to breastfeed, including funding of breastfeeding programs, regulation of marketing of breast-milk substitutes, maternity protection in the workplace, compliance with the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, access to breastfeeding counselling and training, availability of community support programs, and consistent monitoring. The scorecard reports that only 41% of babies younger than 6 months of age are exclusively breastfed. The interactive website includes country profiles and world maps to display data

Public Health Webinar Series Launch, from TFAH

Trust for America's Health has announced the launch of a four-part Web Forum series called "Taking Action to Promote Health Equity—Using the Lessons from Cutting-Edge Practices to Improve Health and Well Being." The series will highlight compelling and replicable activities that help advance health equity. Program speakers will share lessons learned through practice and experiences that are transferable to diverse community settings—large or small, urban or rural—and with substantial or minimal resources. Join TFAH on Tuesday, September 18, from 1:30-3 p.m. ET for the first webinar in the new series, which will analyze the impact of The California Endowment's "Building Healthy Communities" initiative. Panelists will provide a broad overview of the initiative, highlight two community examples, and equip audience members with strategies and tools they can use to advance health equity in their work and communities.


News From the Field

Study on Breastfeeding History and Risk of Stroke, from JAHA

The Journal of the American Heart Association has released an article titled "Breastfeeding History and Risk of Stroke Among Parous Postmenopausal Women in the Women's Health Initiative." The article looks at the association between breastfeeding and stroke and whether that association differs by race and ethnicity. The authors analyzed data from the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study, and concluded that there is an association between breastfeeding and lower risk of stroke among postmenopausal women after adjustment for multiple stroke risk factors and lifestyle variables. 

Study on Marijuana Use and Breastfeeding, from Pediatrics

The journal Pediatrics has published a study titled "Marijuana Use by Breastfeeding Mothers and Cannabinoid Concentrations in Breast Milk." The study's objective was to quantify cannabinoids in human milk after maternal marijuana use. The study measured cannabinoids in 54 breast milk samples provided to a research repository by 50 breastfeeding women between 2014 and 2017, and found that small amounts of the psychoactive chemical THC were found in 34 (63%) of the breast milk samples up to six days after last reported maternal marijuana use. The authors of the study concluded that information regarding risks of exposure to cannabinoids for breastfeeding infants is urgently needed.

Survey of Childhood Obesity Stakeholders, from NCCOR

The National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research has released a survey seeking feedback from researchers, practitioners, and students engaged in assessment and research of factors related to childhood obesity, including diet, physical exercise, and environmental influences, to evaluate NCCOR resources. Individuals can participate by completing the online form.

Response to Joint Letter to Formula Manufacturers, from Danone

Danone has issued a response to a joint letter sent by 1,000 Days and signed by many partner organizations, including the USBC, asking the world's six largest formula manufacturers to comply with the rules set out in the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent resolutions ("the Code") and to stop lobbying against measures to protect breastfeeding. Danone's response states that the company was not engaged in any lobbying around the WHA resolution and that they support the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation for exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of age and continued breastfeeding up to two years and beyond, with the safe introduction of appropriate complementary foods. The letter does not, however, commit to complying with the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent resolutions in its entirety.


Collective Impact Connection

Article on Effective Communication, from SSIR

The Stanford Social Innovation Review has published an article titled "The Science of What Makes People Care." In the article, the authors examine five social science principles that can help communicators tap into people's feelings and values. The article examines and defines each principle and includes instructions on how to apply each insight to communication work.


State & Community News

Expanded Protections for Breastfeeding Employees, from IL

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has signed into law a bill that expands protections for employees needing to express breast milk in the workplace. The law amends the preexisting Nursing Mothers in the Workplace Act in several significant ways—most notably that break time provided for the expression of milk "may not reduce an employee's compensation" regardless of the length of the break. The amendments took effect immediately upon enactment on August 21, 2018. 


News & Views

The Washington Post:

NICHQ blog: "Closing the Breastfeeding Disparity Gap: Methods for Improvement"

What to Expect: "Black Breastfeeding Week Helped Me Keep Nursing When Everyone Around Me Was Telling Me to Quit

Baby-Friendly USA News & Views: "Fact Vs. Fiction: Calling Out a Misleading FIB, Part 2"  

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