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The impact of WIC on breastfeeding initiation and gestational weight gain: Case study of South Carolina Medicaid mothers

Lyudmyla Sonchak

Children and Youth Services Review, 2017, vol. 79, issue C, 115-125

Abstract: In this study, we estimate the effect of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infant and Children (WIC) on breastfeeding initiation at hospital discharge and gestational weight gain, by relying on South Carolina birth certificates data for 2004–2013. The unique longitudinal feature of the data allows us to utilize maternal fixed effects to account for non-random selection into WIC. Contrary to the existing evidence, we find that WIC participation does not have a negative effect on breastfeeding initiation. We uncover an important heterogeneity in WIC's effect by race. More specifically, we find that WIC participation is associated with an increase in breastfeeding initiation among black mothers by nearly 7%, with no statistically significant effect among white mothers. We also document a reduction in the likelihood of an inadequate gestational weight gain of nearly 10% among white and black mothers.

Keywords: WIC; Breastfeeding; Gestational weight gain (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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