Document Type

Master's Culminating Experience

Publication Date



This research project reviews the evidence on the significance of infant and young child feeding to public health goals, analyzes US policy documents in relationship to the Global Strategy using the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi) to quantify the findings into a national score, and then summarizes the gaps and strengths in US policies and makes recommendations. Using the WBTi scoring system, strengths for the US exist in national policy, Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, monitoring and evaluation, and complementary feeding. Mother support and community outreach, information and support were moderate. Gaps exist in policies on infant feeding in emergencies and for mothers with HIV and four specific practice areas: early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, mean duration of any breastfeeding, and bottle-feeding of breastfed infants. Full implementation and funding of the 2011 US Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding could substantially improve infant and young child feeding practices.