Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 20, Issue 8, pp 1735–1744

WIC Participation and Breastfeeding at 3 Months Postpartum

  • Emily F. Gregory
  • Susan M. Gross
  • Trang Q. Nguyen
  • Arlene M. Butz
  • Sara B. Johnson


Objectives Participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) has been associated with lower breastfeeding initiation and duration. This study examines breastfeeding-related factors among WIC participants and nonparticipants that might explain these previous findings. Methods Respondents to the 2007 Infant Feeding Practices Study II who were income-eligible for WIC were categorized as follows: no WIC participation (No-WIC); prenatal participation and infant entry while ≥60 % breastfeeding (WIC BF-high); prenatal participation and infant entry while <60 % breastfeeding (WIC BF-low). Percent breastfeeding was the number of breast milk feeds divided by the total number of liquid feeds. Using propensity scores, we matched WIC BF-high respondents to No-WIC respondents on demographic and breastfeeding factors. We used logistic regression to estimate the impact of WIC participation on breastfeeding at 3 months postpartum in the matched sample. Within-WIC differences were explored. Results Of 743 income-eligible respondents, 293 never enrolled in WIC, 230 were categorized as WIC BF-high, and 220 as WIC BF-low. Compared to matched No-WIC respondents, WIC BF-high respondents had increased odds of breastfeeding at 3 months, though this difference was not statistically significant (OR 1.92; 95 % CI 0.95–3.67; p value 0.07). WIC BF-high respondents were more similar on breastfeeding-related characteristics to No-WIC respondents than to WIC BF-low respondents. Conclusions for Practice Accounting for prenatal breastfeeding intentions and attitudes, we find no negative association between WIC participation and breastfeeding at 3 months postpartum. This is in contrast to prior studies, and highlights the importance of understanding within-WIC differences.


Breastfeeding WIC Health promotion Low-income women 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily F. Gregory
    • 1
    • 4
  • Susan M. Gross
    • 2
  • Trang Q. Nguyen
    • 3
  • Arlene M. Butz
    • 1
  • Sara B. Johnson
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.General Pediatrics and Adolescent MedicineJohns Hopkins School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of Population, Family and Reproductive HealthJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Department of Mental HealthJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  4. 4.Children’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA

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