Action Alert! WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program May Be Defunded

on Jun 16, 2012 in Central Texas News, Local News, National News, News, Statewide News

Peer support makes a difference for breastfeeding moms…
Tell Congress to Fund WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselors in FY 2013!

Take Action Now!

Below is an excerpt from the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) Call To Action.

Yesterday, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin released the National Prevention Council Action Plan, which “outlines the federal commitment to implementing…the nation’s first ever National Prevention Strategy.”

Recommendation #5 under the Strategy’s Healthy Eating section specifically calls to: “Support policies and programs that promote breastfeeding,”

Another recent highlight for breastfeeding was last month’s release of the Institute of Medicine report, Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention, which calls in Strategy 4-4 to “promote breastfeeding-friendly environments.”
Our Nation’s public health leaders are coming together to call for real changes in the policies, systems, and environments that impact breastfeeding families. But despite the fact that these two new documents, as well as The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding, and the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity Report, call for the expansion of breastfeeding peer support programs, we’ve just learned that the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA, and Related Agencies has passed a Fiscal Year 2013 bill which would cut all funding for WIC breastfeeding peer counselors.

Mother-to-mother support has proven to be one of the most successful approaches to encourage mothers to breastfeed their babies.  It has been so successful that after piloting this project, it was established as a core service in the WIC Program. Texas had a head start on this initiative; our state was one of the first in the nation to implement a Peer Counselor Program. The national WIC organization states that “The failure to fund breastfeeding peer counselors would mean an immediate loss of jobs and a reduction in breastfeeding rates.” WIC estimates that women who attend its breastfeeding support groups are twice as likely to plan to breastfeed as those who do not.
Since the program began in April 1991, over 3,500 mothers have been trained in Texas as breastfeeding peer counselors and numerous studies have confirmed the success and importance of peer support.

  1.  Effect of Peer Counselors on Breastfeeding Initiation, Exclusivity, and Duration Among Low-income Urban Women Naomi Kistin, Rachel Abramson, and Peg Dublin. J Hum Lact, March 1994; vol. 10, 1: pp. 11-15.
  2. The Differential Impact of WIC Peer Counseling Programs on Breastfeeding Initiation across the State of Maryland. Gross S., Resnik A., et al. J Hum Lact, November 2009; vol. 25, 4: pp. 435-443
  3. They’ve Walked in My Shoes”: Mothers of Very Low Birth Weight Infants and Their Experiences With Breastfeeding Peer Counselors in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  Rossman B., Engstrom J., Meier P., et al.       J Hum Lact, February 2011; vol. 27, 1: pp. 14-24
  4. The Effect of a Peer Counseling Program on Breastfeeding Initiation and Longevity in a Low-income Rural Population. Shaw E., Kaczorowski J. J Hum Lact, March 1999; vol. 15, 1: pp. 19-25.


As of April 2012 Texas WIC population has met the Healthy People 2020 goals for breastfeeding innitaition at 81.9%  See the progress WIC has made since the Peer Counselor program began below.


Info from

Take Action Now to protect this resource for new families.

It will only take a few minutes and could make a difference for millions of mothers across the United States.

Share your experience as a WIC mom here

Beyond talking to your representative please also contact  And anyone else on the sub committee.


The full list of committee members listed here.


  • Harold Rogers, Kentucky, Chairman
  • C.W. Bill Young, Florida
  • Jerry Lewis, California
  • Frank R. Wolf, Virginia
  • Jack Kingston, Georgia
  • Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, New Jersey
  • Tom Latham, Iowa
  • Robert B. Aderholt, Alabama
  • Jo Ann Emerson, Missouri
  • Kay Granger, Texas
  • Michael K. Simpson, Idaho
  • John Abney Culberson, Texas
  • Ander Crenshaw, Florida
  • Denny Rehberg, Montana
  • John R. Carter, Texas
  • Rodney Alexander, Louisiana
  • Ken Calvert, California
  • Jo Bonner, Alabama
  • Steven C. LaTourette, Ohio
  • Tom Cole, Oklahoma
  • Jeff Flake, Arizona
  • Mario Diaz-Balart, Florida
  • Charles W. Dent, Pennsylvania
  • Steve Austria, Ohio
  • Cynthia M. Lummis, Wyoming
  • Tom Graves, Georgia
  • Kevin Yoder, Kansas
  • Steve Womack, Arkansas
  • Alan Nunnelee, Mississippi


  • Norman D. Dicks, Washington
  • Marcy Kaptur, Ohio
  • Peter J. Visclosky, Indiana
  • Nita M. Lowey, New York
  • José E. Serrano, New York
  • Rosa L. DeLauro, Connecticut
  • James P. Moran, Virginia
  • John W. Olver, Massachusetts
  • Ed Pastor, Arizona
  • David E. Price, North Carolina
  • Maurice D. Hinchey, New York
  • Lucille Roybal-Allard, California
  • Sam Farr, California
  • Jesse L. Jackson, Jr., Illinois
  • Chaka Fattah, Pennsylvania
  • Steven R. Rothman, New Jersey
  • Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., Georgia
  • Barbara Lee, California
  • Adam B. Schiff, California
  • Michael M. Honda, California
  • Betty McCollum, Minnesota
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