Agricultural Information Bulletin No. (AIB-744) 19 pp

September 1998

Breastfeeding Promotion Research: The ES/WIC Nutrition Education Initiative and Economic Considerations

Educating low-income women about the advantages of breastfeeding their babies increases the number who breastfeed. This report summarizes the results of four projects that focused primarily on promoting breastfeeding, which is considered to be the most healthful and beneficial feeding method for most infants. Research has shown that breastfeeding improves the general health, growth, and development of infants and significantly reduces the risk of several health problems both during early life and in later years. Lower income women have been less likely to breastfeed than higher income women. One step the USDA has taken to promote breastfeeding is the ES/WIC Nutrition Education Initiative. This combines the strengths of two nutrition programs for low-income families, the Cooperative Extension System's Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and the Food and Nutrition Service's Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. This report shows that breastfeeding education before delivery increases the initiation of breastfeeding among low-income women. The results also indicate that breastfeeding support soon after delivery increases the duration of breastfeeding.

Keywords: breastfeeding, WIC, low-income, child care, infants

In this publication...