About WIC Breastfeeding Support and Formative Research Findings
WIC Breastfeeding Support - Learn Together. Grow Together is the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) breastfeeding promotion and support campaign. Launched in August 2018, the campaign utilizes a social marketing approach based on extensive formative research and is designed to be implemented at the State and local levels of WIC. The goal of the campaign is to equip WIC moms with the information, resources and support they need to successfully breastfeed.
This campaign replaces WIC’s Loving Support Makes Breastfeeding Work© campaign. Loving Support launched in 1997 and saw many successes. However, after more than a decade of use, WIC staff and program partners encouraged FNS to update the campaign to make it more relevant for newer generations of WIC mothers. In 2011 FNS contracted with the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine to convene experts on how to update the campaign for today’s environment. In 2014, FNS commenced a 3-year process through an agreement with Hager Sharp which began with formative research activities that informed FNS’ next steps in campaign development.
FORMATIVE RESEARCH FINDINGS
Key Insights: Barriers around Breastfeeding Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors
- WIC moms understand the benefits of breastfeeding, but other knowledge gaps exist that lead to a lack of skills and confidence. Moms find breastfeeding to be harder than expected. WIC moms are more likely to breastfeed if it is the norm in their family and/or in their community.
- Not all moms understand the breastfeeding resources available, but those who do speak highly of WIC.
- The 1997 campaign has been well utilized by WIC agencies, but it has not been delivered consistently by WIC agencies in a way that builds brand equity among stakeholders and users.
- Technology has changed drastically, with mobile phones and social media apps now preferred media channels.
- Moms appreciate a relationship with WIC.
In the weeks after giving birth, moms are enduring critical moments that can make or break their breastfeeding experience. During this time, moms need the most support and reassurance that their challenges are surmountable and that it does get better.
- Expectant moms late in pregnancy, particularly first-time moms, want WIC to be realistic about how hard breastfeeding can be and upfront about the challenges they might face.
This audience is typically young (18 to 34), very low income (average household income of $16,842), and diverse (1 in 5 report race as black only; 2 in 5 report ethnicity as Hispanic/Latino). A mom’s support system, including her partners and own mom, serve as a secondary audience, while State and local WIC staff and community partners serve as a tertiary audience.
- Program goals: Provide support, encouragement and resources to moms seeking to breastfeed.
- Behavioral objective: Increase the number of WIC participants who meet or exceed their breastfeeding goals, either exclusively or partially (i.e. breastfeed as much as they can for as long as they can).
- Communications objectives:
- Increase awareness of the services and resources WIC provides participants.
- Increase WIC participants’ knowledge of the biology and processes around breastfeeding, particularly milk supply and how much milk baby needs.
- Increase WIC participants’ skills, including reading babies’ feeding cues, proper latching, proper positioning, and expressing breast milk.
- Increase WIC participants’ confidence and self-efficacy around breastfeeding.
- Increase awareness among mom’s support system about ways they can support breastfeeding.
- Increase self-efficacy among mom’s support system about their ability to offer support.
A new brand: WIC Breastfeeding Support highlights what WIC offers, while leveraging the familiarity, equity, and credibility of the program. The brand aims to deliver on the promise that breastfeeding gets easier. Learning to breastfeed is like learning any new skill. New moms might have challenges early on but taking it day by day and setting small goals for themselves can help. WIC Breastfeeding Support helps moms every step of the way.
Learn Together. Grow Together. It speaks to the breastfeeding journey, acknowledging that it is a wonderful, emotional experience, but it takes mom and baby time to find success. A graphic identifier was developed to visually represent the brand and tagline. The graphic represents both the bond between mother and child, and the bond within the WIC breastfeeding community.
- Breastfeeding is one of the best things you can do for your baby.
- WIC Breastfeeding Support has everything you need.
- Breastfeed your baby as much as you can, for as long as you can.
- Breastfeeding gets easier.
- Breastfeeding is a journey.
- Breastfeeding is one of the best things for your child/grandchild.
- WIC Breastfeeding Support has the support you need.
- Mom needs encouragement, too.
- You are an important part of the breastfeeding team.
WIC Breastfeeding Support is a social marketing campaign that promotes existing WIC Program breastfeeding resources, (i.e. breastfeeding and nutrition classes, trained peer counselors, and access to breastfeeding experts, etc.) as well as newly developed resources – an updated robust website, posters, educational materials, videos, social media products and a buddy program. All of the campaign resources are offered through WIC clinics or online so they are easily accessible and convenient.
- Create a long-term implementation plan
- Promote mobile-friendly website to moms, staff and partners
- Use social media to amplify campaign messages
- Develop partnerships to create supportive breastfeeding environments
- Display and distribute the branded resources
- Foster and grow your peer counseling program
- Bring moms together for additional support through the Buddy Program
 WIC Infant and Toddler Feeding Practices Study – 2: Infant Year Report