WIC Research, Policy and Practice Hub WIC Research, Policy and Practice Hub

Infant Feeding

In 2022, WIC providers navigated unprecedented and historic shortages of infant formula stemming from the closure of one manufacturing plant by safety inspectors. The fragility of the infant formula manufacturing sector raised serious questions about how the United States approaches infant feeding. Although medical guidance has consistently encouraged exclusive breastfeeding for the six months and the Dietary Guidelines embraced this approach in their first life-stages editions in 2020, the United States remains a global outlier in not having implemented the World Health Organization’s 1981 Code on Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes. For more than a decade, NWA has endorsed implementation of the WHO Code and worked to support the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative to improve breastfeeding outcomes.

Responding to the aftermath of the infant formula shortages also requires a more thorough examination of infant formula, including corporate practices that unduly influence individual feeding decisions. WIC must also reflect on the sole-source contracting model that exacerbated challenges for more than one million WIC parents. Although sole-source contracting has returned investment and contributed to the bipartisan consensus that WIC should be funded at a level to serve all eligible individuals, WIC families will soon face reduced choice as infant formula waivers expire through June 2023.


2023 State of WIC Report: Building the Bridge to a Healthier Future
The 2023 State of WIC report – supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation – centers infant feeding, economic equity, and…
WIC's Role Emerging from 2022's Infant Formula Shortages
In February 2022, Abbott Nutrition announced a nationwide recall of infant formula products produced at their Michigan facility after persistent…
WIC's Role in Strengthening Breastfeeding
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) has embraced breastfeeding support and promotion as a core…

NWA Statement on the WHO International Code on Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes
In 2011, the National WIC Association issued a statement in support of the World Health Organization’s International Code on Marketing…
The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act: What You Should Know
After championing the legislation for nearly a decade, the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act was signed into law in December…