JRW Service Corp has been closely analyzing the new food rule and the new paradigms it has established. Our recent analysis of the partially breastfeed infant shows interesting potential in controlling the amounts of formula provided in direct proportion with frequency of breastfeeding.
Infant formula packages could be tailored incrementally and proportionality reducing the amount of formula provided based upon the specific frequency with which the infant is breastfeeding.
For example, infants 2-3 months of age who breastfeed 50% of the time would receive 50% of the Full Nutritional Benefit provided to the 2-3 month old Infant. The Occasional Breastfeeding mother of this infant would not receive the benefit of the Exclusive breastfeeding mother nor the mother receives the additional Cash Value Benefit for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables allowed under the new rule.
Depending on the clinic application, this can be controlled by food package design; with recent changes to the food rule formula is calculated by looking to the Physical Form, the Feeding Option, and the age of the infant. To reduce formula issuance for partially breastfeeding infants, a scenario similar to the following would be adopted:
If it is determined that a breast feed infant should be feeding 8 times a day, an infant who feeds 2 times a day feeds 25% of the time and still needs 75% of their Full Nutritional Benefit (FNB), there for the infant gets 604.5 ounces of formula.
Systems would need to recognize the status “partial breastfeader” to request a value for “Breastfeeding frequency”, systems would point infants to the appropriate formula package based on this new input.
Adopting these types of steps into your Program could help with promotion of breastfeeding, as the mother would not receive the exclusive breastfeeding package and would receive a reduced formula benefit. Further, reduced formula issuance could equal a reduced total food bill to the program.
Nutrition counseling and time spent in the clinic with the clerk would become more important as the benefits of breastfeeding would need to be discussed with partial breast feeders and mothers would need to be informed of the exclusive breastfeed packages. Studies have shown that the cost of partially breastfeeding infants bears more cost to families for items not covered by WIC, as found here, providing more interest to the families to be exclusive breast feeders.
The new food package can ameliorate WIC programs who embrace the changes. Because formula amounts are now established, using the full nutritional benefit for the infant thus, systems are leverage able in making nutritionally based decisions.
To determine potential impact and benefit of this type of package change, programs will need to gather information regarding, program categories, caseload, formula issuance, and others to create ‘what if’ scenarios. Implementing a plan like this not only supports your efforts in raising your breastfeeding rates, it could also control costs!