Facts for Mom to Know about Breastfeeding and WIC

Helping babies and young children get off to a healthy start is a top priority of the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children program — commonly called WIC.

WIC’s services help safeguard the health of women, infants and children up to age 5 who are at nutrition risk and low income. Through the WIC program, eligible moms can receive nutritious food, guidance about healthy eating from Registered Dietitians and nutritionists, helpful screenings and referrals to health, welfare and social services.

Expectant moms can access WIC assistance right from the start of pregnancy through offices across the state, along with an office at Milwaukee’s Aurora Sinai Medical Center.

A program called Coffective is a statewide WIC and hospital initiative that can help expectant moms get ready for baby’s arrival. The program features the website Coffective.com and an app that helps mom prepare for the hospital stay and plan for successful breastfeeding. The program encourages moms to have a support team and a champion to help her communicate her breastfeeding wishes. Coffective helps clarify misinformation about breastfeeding.

Read a blog that busts 5 common myths about breastfeeding.

 

Guidance When You Need It

In addition to the certified lactation consultants offered at WIC, board certified lactation consultants are available at all Aurora birthing centers to help give mom more confidence.

Breastfeeding classes are available across the Aurora footprint. Visit the Classes and Events page and enter the keyword search: breastfeeding.

 

Loving Support

Baby can get off to a well-nourished start when mom breastfeeds. WIC’s Loving Support program helps answer questions you may have about breastfeeding and address challenges you may face.

A WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor is a mom who has breastfed before and is part of the WIC community. Peer counselors serve as a role model, friend and cheer leader for new moms. The counselor can help mom get past social reluctance to breastfeed. Mom’s hesitation might stem from not knowing anyone who has breastfed. She may have heard some negative things about breastfeeding, or she may be concerned she won’t be able to breastfeed after returning to work.

An important tool for a breastfeeding mom who works is a breast pump. Did you know most women who have health insurance are eligible to get one breast pump during their lifetime. Check with your insurance provider. For moms who do not qualify for a breast pump through insurance, WIC has options ranging from loaning out hospital grade pumps to moms with babies in the NICU, manual pumps for moms on the go and electric pumps for moms who are returning to work. And there are other options for getting a breast pump. Ask your lactation consultant for suggestions. A manual pump may be more affordable than an electric version.

 

Going Back to Work

If you plan to go back to work and are fully breastfeeding when baby is 1 month, WIC can help arrange a breast pump for work if you don’t already have one. Here’s are some steps for successful breastfeeding after returning to work:

  • Find a day care center or babysitter near your job. Let them know about your plans to breastfeed.
  • Start to pump a week before you go back to work to make sure you have a good supply.
  • Use a breast pump to express milk your baby can have while you’re at work.

A peer counselor can give you more tips about successfully breastfeeding once you’re back at work.

 

Laws Protect Nursing Moms

Nursing moms have protections under the law. Federal law requires employers to provide mom reasonable breaks to express breast milk for a baby up to age 1. The employer must also provide a private place away from coworkers and the public for mom to express. A bathroom does not qualify. If the state’s laws provide more protection for mom, it will override the federal law.

 

Who’s Eligible

Lots of women qualify for WIC. You may be surprised to learn that WIC serves 53 percent of all infants born in the U.S.

Moms who are students or have other children may qualify. See the FAQs and the WIC Income Eligibility Table online. The family size numbers for qualification includes mom and the unborn child.

A working expectant mom who makes up to $30,451 a year may qualify for WIC. A family of 4, including the unborn child, may be eligible with a household income of up to $46,435. An online tool can help you can find out if you may be eligible.

If you have questions about your overall health or maternity needs, ask your health care clinician. When you’re ready, try these 10 tips for successful breastfeeding.

Meet the Author

Lindsay Kohut is a Breastfeeding Coordinator for the Aurora WIC program.

Read more posts from this author

The information presented in this site is intended for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own physician. Contact your physician if you believe you have a health problem.

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