Cuts to the WIC Infant Formula program?

Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Cuts to the WIC Infant Formula program?
15
Sat, 02-19-2011 - 4:19pm

How do you feel about the recent talk about Obama cutting back on the WIC infant formula program? Should the program be cut, or would such cuts harm poor children? Do you think that the program should contine as it is and perhaps even grow?

Or has this program reached its limit? Is it time for "mothers to start using their own natural resources to feed their children"?

"As for Obama's invocation of baby formula for poor children, most doctors and nutritionists have been insisting for years that mother's milk is best for babies. Still, some mothers cannot nurse. OK, let's imagine a federal program that subsidized formula only for poor women who cannot nurse. Would it look anything like the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program? Fully 51 percent of infants now get WIC funding, along with 25 percent of young children. Is a majority of infants in the United States poor?

Even the most heart-stirring of liberal programs — formula for babies! — has become bloated beyond reason and could easily be cut."

The facts about the WIC:

http://www.faqs.org/nutrition/Smi-Z/WIC-Program.html - This data shows 45% participation between 1975-1995.

http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/26wifypart.htm - 9,172,000 participated in WIC in 2010 ( is that families or each family member?). Only 4,500,000 million babies were born last year.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-02-2006
Sat, 02-19-2011 - 5:38pm

This is an interesting idea. Since I started reading this forum, I have been thinking of WHY there are so many barriers to the average woman nursing the average child. Sure, there are cases were breastfeeding is way too difficult or possibly not safe (thinking of the severe cow's protein allergy here) but it seems like MOST of the time, most mothers can successfully breastfeed when given the information, time, and motivation.

Unfortunately, many of us have never known or seen anyone actually nurse a baby (so we have a LOT to learn when starting out), many women do not have along enough maternity leave, and new motherhood has enough challenges without having to add a whole new skill to learn (how to nurse).

If our goal is for most women to nurse, then I do think that offering FREE/super cheap formula will prevent us from achieving that goal. So many people use formula because it is easier than nursing. (at first at least) Given the potential risks of formula use, I do not believe that the government should subsidise it. Perhaps only in special circumstances.

It is frustrating for me to see so many healthy mothers with healthy children who chose not to nurse. I don't understand it.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-29-2005
Sat, 02-19-2011 - 8:31pm
I would love to see the money spent on formula go to enabling and supporting women to breastfeed. Educating moms and healthcare providers, and daycare providers while we're at it. Better maternity leave policies and support for pumping.

If a woman is trult unable to bf or to ebf, by all means formula should be available

 


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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Sat, 02-19-2011 - 9:14pm

Great post. Welcome to the debate.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Sat, 02-19-2011 - 9:31pm

My opinion is that anything that interferes with a mother's right to breastfeed her child is a problem. Providing formula but not providing breastfeeding support is, IMO, interfering with a mother's right to breastfeed. So, in general, I agree with the efforts to support breastfeeding in the WIC program.

OTOH, I support a mother's right to choose how to feed her child. Just as I don't think a mother's right to breastfeed should be impeded, I don't think a mother should be forced to do something with her body that she isn't comfortable with. Just because she has limited financial resources, doesn't mean she should be coerced into breastfeeding.

I just am really uncomfortable with the idea that some women should have a greater expectation to breastfeed because they use WIC. I think that sometimes when people talk about WIC, they are thinking about "those people" who are "poor" spending "our" money. It's like fingernail's on a chalkboard to me.

Don't panic - I'm not suggesting the breastfeeding isn't a good idea. I just don't want to start deciding which women REALLY should breastfeed and which ones can if they want to.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-07-2005
Sat, 02-19-2011 - 10:20pm







Lilypie




iVillage Member
Registered: 08-02-2006
Sat, 02-19-2011 - 11:15pm

That's an interesting point and perspective. Actually, the opposite is what is happening. So many women without financial means are really coerced (that is a great word) into using formula. They are given a free diaper bag, free formula, lots of pamphlets and ads from formula companies when they leave the hospital. This is an implied encouragement to formula feed. This is the same population with worse obesity and type 2 diabetes rates. From a public health perspective, this is irresponsible. Also from an individual perspective, it's not fair and implies that poor women may not have the social/emotional resources to breastfeed.

I think it's a cop out of some sort to say that each woman has the right to decide what to do with her breasts and how to feed her baby. I agree in theory, but the playing field is not level between breast and formula feeding. We have cultural taboos so strong that the idea of baring a breast in public makes breastfeeding mothers feed their baby in a public restroom - EEW-, lots of barriers to learning about breastfeeding (when for example, pediatricians are not even trained in breastfeeding basics), free formula given I bet to almost all moms who deliver. Actually, women now are NOT allowed the right to decide, they are pushed into using formula. I think it's time to push the other way but I really don't know how.

Obviously this irritates me and my pants are on fire right now.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-16-2010
Sat, 02-19-2011 - 11:27pm

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Sun, 02-20-2011 - 9:29am

They are given a free diaper bag, free formula, lots of pamphlets and ads from formula companies when they leave the hospital. This is an implied encouragement to formula feed.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-07-2005
Sun, 02-20-2011 - 9:40am







Lilypie




iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2011
Sun, 02-20-2011 - 11:54am

I don't necessarily think that the program should be cut, I think it should be refocused to promote breast feeding. Or that as a condition of the program, that mothers should have to try breastfeeding in order to be eligible. I mean, some people say that its wrong to make that

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