The USBC e-Newsletter, Staying Abreast, is published in a weekly news brief format, called the Weekly Wire (WW). Past issues are archived below.
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.
The WW goes on hiatus several times a year: the weeks of the Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Year's holidays, the weeks before the Presidents Day, Memorial Day, and Labor Day holidays, and the weeks of the USBC membership meetings.
Weekly Wire: May 27, 2022
In this issue:
* denotes a USBC member organization news item
Let's Get Loud: Contact Your Senators in Support of the PUMP Act
One year ago this week, the Senate HELP Committee advanced the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act with unanimous bipartisan support, yet the bill still has not been considered by the full Senate. Nearly 9 million women of childbearing age are not covered by the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law, the federal law that requires break time and a private space for breastfeeding employees to pump during the workday. The PUMP Act would close this gap, and families need the Senate to take action NOW. Many parents would like to breastfeed but can't without break time and lactation space at work, the impact of which we are seeing even more starkly as the country desperately grapples with the shortage of baby formula. The Senate needs to vote for the PUMP Act so that providing breast milk to our babies is a viable choice for more families - no matter their job. Take action today!
Joint Statement on IYCF-E Updated
The USBC-affiliated COVID-19 Infant & Young Child Feeding Constellation released the Joint Statement on Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies in the U.S. in response to the ongoing infant formula shortage. Developed to inform and support infant and young child feeding in emergencies as a component of emergency response, the Joint Statement is based on guidance documentation from UNICEF. It represents the work and review of the Constellation's 47 national, tribal, state, and community organizations.
Conference Corner: Legal Support for Working Parents Plenary Session
Registration for the USBC conference is open and the online event commences in less than 2 weeks. One of several dynamic plenary presentations that will be featured during the three-day conference focuses on workplace policies and their impact on breastfeeding rates. Laws and policies that provide family and medical leave and protect the right to reasonable accommodations for pregnancy and lactation are especially critical. "Legal Protections for Working Parents: Where We Are and Where We're Going" will feature speakers from the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor, the Center for WorkLife Law, and A Better Balance. In this engaging fireside chat, an esteemed panel of experts share about federal and state legal protections for working parents and share some practical strategies for supporting public education and implementation efforts around these protections. Secure your spot today!
We look forward to learning and sharing with you at the conference! Please note that the deadline to apply to exhibit or sponsor the online event is Friday, May 27.
Special Section on Infant Formula Recall and Shortage
The United States is facing a serious shortage of infant formula. No baby should ever go hungry. As the nation grapples with this emergency, we need to do everything we can to support infant nutrition, including ensuring access to lactation support, supplies, and accommodations, donor milk, and infant formula. Throughout its history, the USBC has worked to ensure food security for our nation's infants by addressing gaps through policy, systems, and environmental change solutions, including building an infrastructure for infant and young child feeding in emergencies. We remain committed to this cause and will continue to curate and amplify resources from the field. Highlights include:
Infant Formula Recall and Shortage News & Views
World Health Assembly to Consider Request to Regulate Digital Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes
The Seventy-fifth World Health Assembly is being held in Geneva, Switzerland, May 22-28, 2022. The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO. It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board. On Friday, May 27, the Assembly will consider Decision EB150 Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) and Food Safety (Agenda item 18), which requests that the Director General provide guidance to Member States on digital marketing of breast-milk substitutes and to report back in 2024. This is the first in-person Health Assembly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Proceedings are webcast live.
USBC Insight: The International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) and International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) are attending the World Health Assembly and will be making several statements urging the WHA to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding. IBFAN and ILCA are promoting the four new WHO reports and briefings showing that marketing in many countries is not restricted or regulated and that safeguards are needed.
* Deadline Extended to Join IBLCE Second Credential Workgroup
The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) is seeking volunteers to be part of the process of developing and piloting a lactation support credential. IBLCE is seeking volunteers from around the world and from a variety of backgrounds (e.g., breastfeeding support counsellors, peer-to-peer counsellors, lactation researchers, childbirth education; healthcare workers) interested in lactation support and in joining the IBLCE Second Credential workgroup charged with the development of this pilot program. The deadline to apply has been extended to Monday, June 20.
* Webinar on Workplace Lactation Support
The Coalition for Oklahoma Breastfeeding Advocates is hosting a virtual panel discussion titled "Navigating Lactation Support in the Workplace." The panel will discuss supporting breastfeeding parents in the workplace, including employment protections for employees who are pregnant or nursing. The presentation will feature panelists Michelle Browning Coughlin, an attorney from Louisville and founder of MothersEsquire, and Patricia McMahon, Lead Outreach and Education Coordinator, EEOC-Denver Field Office. McMahon is also the Region 8 Lead - White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.
Funding Opportunity to Educate Women Workers
The U.S. Department of Labor has released a funding opportunity announcement for the Fostering Access, Rights and Equity (FARE) Grant Program. The FARE grant program helps women workers who earn low wages learn about and access their employment rights and benefits. FARE grant recipients will provide outreach to women who are paid low wages at work and otherwise marginalized and underserved; share educational materials through various platforms, including social media, in-person or virtual events, brochures, leaflets, and one-on-one consultations; assist women workers with navigating and calculating benefits; connect and refer women workers to additional services, benefits, and/or legal assistance as needed, reasonable, and/or available; and help women to become focal points for rights, benefits, and assistance in their own communities (i.e., a train-the-trainer model for navigation).
Regional Listening Sessions on Food Security
The White House is hosting virtual, regional listening sessions for individuals and organizations to share ideas and experiences with hunger and diet-related diseases in their communities in the lead up to the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health which will be hosted in September. These listening sessions will provide an opportunity for the Administration to become better informed in their efforts to end hunger, improve nutrition and physical activity, and close the disparities surrounding them. Listening sessions will be held on various dates in June and are open to the public.
Article on Impact of Black-Led Birth Centers on Health Inequities
The Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing published an article titled "We Are Not Asking Permission to Save Our Own Lives: Black-Led Birth Centers to Address Health Inequities." The article describes a departure from traditional White supremacist research models that privilege quantitative outcomes to the exclusion of iterative processes, lived experiences, and consciousness-raising. A community organizing approach to birth center development led by Black women and rooted in equity values of safety, love, trust, and justice is outlined.
Fact Sheet on Postpartum Medicaid Expansion Research
The NIHCM Foundation published a research insights fact sheet titled "Does Medicaid Expansion Impact Postpartum Coverage, Outpatient Care, and Racial Disparities?" The publication highlights research findings from a study published in the JAMA Health Forum. It also lays out the importance of the study, what the study found, and what the results mean. The researchers concluded that Medicaid expansion can increase postpartum coverage and outpatient postpartum care visits among low-income individuals, narrow racial and ethnic disparities in health care coverage, and contribute new findings to the association between postpartum Medicaid expansion and health care utilization.
State & Community News
* Minnesota Pregnant Workers' Rights Videos
The Minnesota Breastfeeding Coalition, in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, released new videos as part of their "Know Your Rights" series. The videos address the rights pregnant workers in Minnesota have to protect the well-being of themselves and their babies in the workplace.
New York Bill to Study Utilization of Paid Family Leave Program Passes Assembly
The New York Assembly passed Assembly Bill A10224A, which would create a temporary commission to conduct a comprehensive study on the current utilization of paid family leave and make recommendations on how to increase access and the visibility of the program. An identical bill has been introduced in the New York State Senate.
Delaware Bill to Extend Medicaid Coverage to Doula Services Passes Out of Committee
Delaware House Bill 343 has reported out of the Health & Human Development Committee in the House. The bill would require the Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance to present a plan to the General Assembly by November 1 for coverage of doula services by Medicaid providers, including breastfeeding assistance and lactation support.
News & Views
CHEER blog post: "CHEER Chamption of the Week: To-wen Tseng!"
* HealthConnect One blog post: "Centering AAPI Voices in Breastfeeding Advocacy"
Senator Duckworth press release: "Duckworth, Tillis and Underwood Lead Bipartisan Call to FEMA for Updated Guidance for Nursing Moms Amid Disasters"
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