Protecting, Promoting and Supporting Breastfeeding, The WIC Way.
The Texas WIC program has a long history for building breastfeeding awareness and capacity.
State level activities include:
- WIC Infant Feeding Practices Survey — a biennial survey of WIC participants to learn more about their attitudes, experiences and awareness of breastfeeding practices.
- Statewide focus group listening sessions with healthcare providers, mothers and community stakeholders— to better understand community level breastfeeding resources and support and to identify gaps in services
- Every Ounce Counts campaign — ongoing funding and oversight of a successful breastfeeding awareness campaign that includes digital, print, radio and television ads that was started in 2008.
Between 2012-2017, the Texas Ten Step program supported by the Texas Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and Title V worked with hospitals and community partners in a project called the Texas Breastfeeding Learning Collaborative. This collaboration, that included WIC, mothers, hospital staff and leaders, created open dialogue about barriers to support and need for consistent breastfeeding messaging. Over 70 hospital teams ultimately helped improve breastfeeding support in their communities.
To learn more about community services and resources that demonstrate Texas WIC’s commitment to supporting, promoting and protecting breastfeeding, visit the Support from WIC page.
What has WIC learned?
Feedback from the WIC mother and health care provider focus groups reveals there’s a lack of awareness for breastfeeding best practices and understanding of how to keep this work going among birthing facilities and communities.
Often, mothers don’t know that birthing facilities are engaged in Ten Step work —they’re unaware of rigorous planning, education, time and resource building that is taking place. Facilities are overcoming many barriers. Mothers often don’t know to look for Texas Ten Step or Baby-Friendly Hospital designation and for some, all facilities are deemed equal.
Healthcare staff are also unaware of their impact and successes. Many could learn new methods to help patients breastfeed easier in the first few days. The breastfeeding support they offer to moms in those first key moments and days can have a lifelong impact.
To learn more about the impact of suboptimal breastfeeding on all of us, visit Why Texas Ten Step?
Texas WIC, A Valued Partner
Right now, WIC staff in your local community are hard at work engaging in breastfeeding education, promotion, support and awareness building. The Texas WIC program can help identify and potentially address gaps in breastfeeding care in your community, making them a great collaborative partner.
When moms engage WIC early in their prenatal care, the potential to educate, identify nutritional risks and refer them to additional healthcare services like medical and dental care and other community support programs is optimal.
- Registered dietitians and nutrition professionals to assist with general nutrition and high-risk counseling
- Peer Counselors that serve as WIC’s first line of breastfeeding support. Peer Counselors offer tailored mom-to-mom support and assist with basic breastfeeding assessments, latch, position and breast pump education
- International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC’s) that serve to address more clinical breastfeeding issues for mom and baby. Examples include management of infant weight loss and maternal issues like sore, painful nipples and engorgement
- Nutrition education classes for the whole family including nutrition during pregnancy, breastfeeding, cooking classes and much more
- Breastfeeding support groups and after hours warm lines
The key to building a healthy community is identifying moms accessing your health care system and referring them to WIC for services. To connect with the local WIC agency in your community, visit the TexasWIC.org office locator.
Visit our Community Page to learn how health care providers and systems across the state are collaborating with WIC to ensure continuity of care for breastfeeding moms!
Gaining Buy-in for Breastfeeding In Your Facility
Help ensure that a new breastfeeding culture is developed by engaging all areas of your facility that are impacted by Ten Step practice changes. Change takes time and it should be no surprise that there will be those that adapt to change early and those who will need more time.
Ideas to engage staff, leaders and physicians:
- Include routine updates on the progress of Ten Step work.
- Celebrate every success, no matter how big or small.
- Use “shift huddles” at the beginning of each shift to determine a goal or focused topic of breastfeeding education for the day.
- Hold contests with small rewards (e.g. certificates, celebration wall) to keep staff motivated and on target with improving your breastfeeding rates.
- Conduct small tests of change or PDSA’s (plan, do, study, act) when rolling out a step like rooming-in. This gives staff and those affected the opportunity to test and provide feedback on implementing this change.
Check out Ten Step videos to see how facility staff, physicians and leaders have implemented change in their facilities!
Gaining Buy-In for Breastfeeding in Your Community
Mothers and families need to know how to plan for their baby’s arrival, what to expect and how the changes your facility is making helps them meet their breastfeeding goals.
Take every opportunity to engage with pregnant and new moms in your community and let them know about the breastfeeding support and resources you offer.
Ideas to engage mothers and families:
- Partner with your local WIC agency. Find out what breastfeeding services and education they offer in your community and let them know about your Texas Ten Step designation to share with the moms they serve.
- Add information on the positive changes patients can expect to your facility tours, prenatal classes and community health fairs.
- Offer a survey at pre-registration or during prenatal birthing and breastfeeding classes that asks what services and resources moms will need.
- Conduct a community-needs assessment to learn how your facility can adequately plan and allocate the resources that your patients are asking for.
Visit the Marketing Your TTS Designation page to learn more about sharing your Texas Ten Step accomplishments with your community and staff.