Support for breastfeeding has been a priority of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) – which provides 9.2 million Americans with nutritious food, nutrition education, support, and healthcare referrals – since the program began in the 1970s. The Loving Support Makes Breastfeeding Work campaign, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) launched in 1997, emphasizes that the support of family and friends, the healthcare system, and the community are essential for a breastfeeding mother to be successful. More than a decade after the campaign began, USDA is seeking to update it using an evidence-based social marketing strategy, taking into account the socioeconomic and demographic changes among WIC participants, changes in the WIC program, and the appearance of interactive, democratized communication created by new technology.
As one of the first steps in the campaign’s update, FNS asked the IOM to host a workshop on April 26, 2011 to convene experts for a discussion on what has changed since Loving Support began in 1997. Speakers examined changes in today’s millennial moms, laws and the emergence of new technologies, evaluated lessons learned from other public health campaigns, and provided thoughts on where to take the campaign in the future. Suggestions for the future included updating the market research, the use of modern communications tools, strategic community-based partnerships, and the use of ongoing evaluation tools. This document summarizes the workshop.