Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Knocking Down Barriers
I've been hard at work trying to finish my powerpoint for the WIC conference in a couple of weeks. (WIC is a government run food program for low income women and children who are nutritionally at risk- the program supplies them with supplemental nutritious foods to round out their diets) The research has been very thought provoking. I've learned so much more about the barriers that have to be overcome for some women to breastfeed. Its amazing. It seems that the babies who would most benefit from being breastfed are the least likely to be. How sad. I hope to have many, many opportunities to give this presentation. From the research, I identified 55 barriers divided into 9 categories ( political, cultural, social, economic, institutional, behavioral, environmental, educational, and relational). I came up with a list of recommendations that cover every level of human intereaction from governmental interventions to community-based, to one-on-one in the workplace. I have still have mixed feelings about this organization. They are an arm of the government, and the largest purchaser of formula. On the other hand they are under federal mandate to increase breastfeeding rates. However, one of the research articles I came across identified being a WIC mom as a factor for being least likely to breastfeed! At least 2 research articles found WIC interventions to boost breastfeeding to be weak or ineffective (though there were other articles that promoted the stregnth of other interventions). In other words, there is much work to be done. This organization has access to the women who need to increase their breastfeeding rates- so this is the organization to join forces with. The idea is to come up with interventions that really work- interventions that truly change peoples beliefs and behaviors. I don't believe that governments lead cultural change, they can only facilitate and encourage that change. Consumers lead cultural change. My desire is to draw consumers to claim and embrace breastfeeding as their own.