Likelihood of Breastfeeding Within the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children Population

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Background: Breastfeeding is an important public health initiative. Low-income women benefiting from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) are a prime population for breastfeeding promotion efforts. Research aim: This study aims to determine factors associated with increased likelihood of breastfeeding for WIC participants. Methods: The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis statement guided the systematic review of literature. Database searches occurred in September and October 2014 and included studies limited to the previous 10 years. The following search terms were used: low-income; WIC; women, infants, and children; breastfeeding; breast milk; and maternal and child health. The criterion for inclusion was a study sample of women and children enrolled in the WIC program, thereby excluding non-United States–based research. Results: Factors that increased the likelihood of breastfeeding for WIC participants included sociodemographic and health characteristics ( n = 17); environmental and media support ( n = 4); government policy ( n = 2); intention to breastfeed, breastfeeding in hospital, or previous breastfeeding experience ( n = 9); attitudes toward and knowledge of breastfeeding benefits ( n = 6); health care provider or social support; and time exposure to WIC services ( n = 5). Conclusion: The complexity of breastfeeding behaviors within this population is clear. Results provide multisectored insight for future research, policies, and practices in support of increasing breastfeeding rates among WIC participants.

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Journal of Human Lactation

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