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Health Services: WIC - Breastfeeding


World Breastfeeding Week

August 1 - 7, 2013

World Breastfeeding Week focuses on the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding worldwide. Learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding and how you can support and encourage mothers who want to breastfeed.

Learn more at http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/.

 

Why Does WIC Recommend Breastfeeding?

Breast milk is the best food for a baby! Breast milk contains just the right amount of fatty acids, lactose, water and protein for a baby's digestion, brain development and growth. Colostrum, the early milk produced by a breastfeeding mother, is rich in nutrients and antibodies. It is the perfect starter food for a baby.

A recent report in the Lancet (a British medical journal) indicates that breastfeeding may increase a child's IQ by up to 10 points! The study group involved 300 premature infants, who were followed over an 8 year period.

Benefits of Breastfeeding

Woman Breastfeeding her InfantThere are many benefits of breastfeeding. Some are more beneficial to the mother while others are more important to the baby.  Following is a list:

  • Breastfeeding requires no special preparation
  • Breast milk is fresh, clean and at the right temperature
  • Breast milk is nutritionally superior to any alternative.
  • Breast milk is the least allergic of any foods for a baby.
  • Breast milk has many special substances that protect against infection.
  • Breastfed babies have fewer illnesses and stomach upsets.
  • Breastfed babies are less likely to be overfed.
  • Breastfeeding causes the mother's uterus to contract, which helps her body return to pre-pregnancy shape.
  • Breastfeeding promotes good jaw and tooth development.
  • Breast milk is easy to digest and is gentle on the baby's stomach.
  • Breastfeeding may help protect the mother against breast and ovarian cancer.
  • Breastfeeding costs less than commercial formulas. Since there are usually
    no containers to wash, heat, or dispose of with breast milk, breastfeeding
    may have a positive environmental impact.
  • Breastfeeding promotes a close mother-baby bond.
  • Breastfeeding may help a mother return to her pre-pregnancy weight sooner.

How WIC Supports Breastfeeding

The WIC Program provides breastfeeding information, support and counseling to mothers during pregnancy. After delivery, WIC staff and peer breastfeeding counselors continue to assist mothers and babies to successfully breastfeed through the first months of life.

Breastfeeding women enrolled in WIC receive specific foods: milk, cheese, eggs, iron-fortified cereal, Vitamin C-rich juice, and peanut butter/dried beans, tuna and carrots.

FREE Breast Pumps Available for WIC Participants

Most mothers in our community return to work or school, soon after their babies are born. Most mothers know the benefits of breast milk for their baby and themselves, and want to offer the best for their baby. With the help of a breast pump, moms can have an easier time continuing to breastfeed their baby after returning to work.

Hand held and electric pumps are available, along with education on its use, milk storage guidelines and ways to keep up milk supply.

WIC also provides information on how worksites can support mothers who want to continue nursing after returning to work.

WIC Resources:

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