Timing of WIC enrollment and responsive feeding among low-income women in the US

Katelin M. Hudak, Sara E. Benjamin-Neelon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined associations between the timing of The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) enrollment and responsive feeding and assessed food security as a possible effect modifier. We used data from the nationally representative WIC Infant and Toddler Feeding Practices Study-2. Our sample includes women-infant dyads interviewed through the first 13 months of age (n = 1672). We dichotomized WIC enrollment as occurring prenatally or after childbirth. The responsive feeding outcome was feeding on demand versus feeding on schedule. We used covariate-adjusted logistic regressions. Of women, 61.8% had a high school education or less and 62.9% lived at 75% or less of the federal poverty guideline. The majority (84.5%) of women enrolled in WIC before childbirth. In unadjusted estimates, 34% of women who enrolled prenatally practiced responsive feeding, compared to 25% of women who enrolled after childbirth. We found no evidence of food security as an effect modifier. In adjusted estimates, women who enrolled in WIC prenatally had 78% higher odds of practicing responsive feeding (OR: 1.78, 95% CI: 1.16, 2.73), compared to women who enrolled after childbirth. Prenatal enrollment in WIC was associated with higher odds of responsive feeding. Future studies should examine how the timing of WIC enrollment relates to responsive feeding in older children and over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7695
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 2 2021


  • Children
  • Feeding on demand
  • Infant feeding style
  • Infants
  • The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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