WIC toll free number: 844-329-5838
Why Is Breastfeeding Important?
The WIC Breastfeeding Counselor Program offers mother-to-mother support for breastfeeding to low-income women in Contra Costa County. Referrals come from area hospitals, the WIC program, health care providers and community health workers. WIC participants can also refer themselves. To make a referral to the WIC Breastfeeding Counselor Program call 925-646-5534 or fax 925-646-5029.
Who Are the Breastfeeding Counselors?
WIC Breastfeeding Counselors are members of the community who understand the concerns, customs and common beliefs in the community. New mothers can feel comfortable talking to them. All counselors have breastfed one or more infants for four or more months.
What Do the Breastfeeding Counselors Do?
- Provide support to breastfeeding women in their community, both by telephone and in the WIC office.
- Teach WIC prenatal classes to encourage healthy eating & exercise and promote breastfeeding.
- Make referrals to other services when appropriate.
For More Information
Please contact your local WIC site.
Breastfeeding Is Best For Babies
- Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life and continued breastfeeding with complementary foods until the child is at least 12 months old is the best way to feed babies.
- There is no limit on the duration of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding beyond the first year offers health benefits to both mother and child and should continue as long as mother and baby want.
- Human milk is specifically for human infants; substitute feeding preparations (formulas) are not the same.
- The healthiest and most normal growth and development is achieved by breastfeeding.
- Formula feeding increases the risk of meningitis, diarrhea, and respiratory tract infection, digestive tract infection, ear infection, urinary tract infection and SIDS
- Children who were formula fed are at increased risk of diabetes, obesity, asthma, allergies and cancer.
- Children who were breastfed do better on tests of intelligence.
- Breastfeeding reduces postpartum bleeding and helps a woman's uterus to return to pre-pregnancy size.
- Exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months can help with spacing pregnancies and reduces the mother's risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
- Breastfeeding may reduce the chance of hip fracture and osteoporosis after menopause.
- Breastmilk is free.
- Breastfeeding promotes skin-to-skin contact that stimulates bonding between mother and infant.
- Parents of breastfed infants take less time off work to care for a sick infant.
- Breastfeeding is better for the environment. It creates less trash to throw away and uses less energy resources to produce.
You Can Breastfeed!
- Yes You Can: Just as your body was capable of developing a baby during your pregnancy, your body is prepared to produce milk for your baby after delivery.
- Healthy infants should be placed and remain in direct skin-to-skin contact with their mothers immediately after delivery until the first feeding is accomplished.
- During the early weeks infants should be breastfed at least 8 to 12 times in 24 hours, offering the breast whenever the infant shows early signs of hunger such as increase alertness, physical activity, mouthing, or rooting.
- Avoid pacifiers and bottles in the first month to ensure establishment of breastfeeding and an adequate milk supply.
- Babies don't need formula, water, glucose water or other supplemental fluids unless prescribed by a physician for a medical condition.
- Seek help from a breastfeeding expert such as a lactation consultant if you have problems.
- Breastfeeding alone is the best way to nourish an infant for the first six months of life and should be continued after introduction of solids for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child.
Breastfeeding Management Guidelines 0 to 6 weeks
Reference: La Leche League International, The Breastfeeding Answer Book
- The more often and effectively a baby nurses, the more milk there will be.
- When the mother's milk "comes in" on the third or fourth day after birth, five or six wet diapers indicate the baby is getting enough fluids.
- During the first six weeks, at least three to four bowel movements per day the size of a U.S. quarter or larger is one indication that the baby is getting enough to eat.
- Engorgement can be avoided by breastfeeding long and often from birth.
- From birth to three months, typical weight gain is five to six ounces (140 to 170 grams) per week.
- If a baby is sleepy or uninterested in nursing during his first few days, encourage him to breastfeed often.
- Good nutrition, fluids and rest are important for mother's recovery after giving birth
- Growth spurts or periods of increased nursing commonly occur at around two or three week, six weeks, and three months of age.
- Infants may "cluster feed" especially in the afternoon
- Call for advice if your breastfed baby has less than 3 dirty and 6 wet diapers in 24 hours after your milk becomes plentiful.
- Some breast tenderness in the first week is normal. If you have very sore, cracked or bleeding nipples, call for advice, you may need to adjust your baby's position or latch at the breast.
The Contra Costa Breastfeeding Support Warmline provides dependable breastfeeding information and support to Contra Costa County women. The warmline is staffed by volunteers who are experts on breastfeeding and related issues.
All calls made to the warmline are responded to within 24 hours, 7 days a week.
What Services Does the Warmline Provide?
- Answers to breastfeeding questions.
- Follow-up support - warmline consultants will continue support of a breastfeeding mother to help her resolve breastfeeding problems.
- Referrals to WIC Breastfeeding Counselors (for WIC participants only).
- Referrals to in-person lactation support.
- Referrals to other services as appropriate.
Why is Breastfeeding Important?
Breastfeeding is the preferred method of infant feeding - breastmilk is the most complete form of nutrition for infants. Formula feeding carries risk of increased morbidity and mortality including:
- Increased ear infections
- Increased allergies
- Increased intestinal infection
- Increased chronic diseases like diabetes and Crohn's disease
- Increased decay of baby teeth
- Increased obesity in early childhood
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months and thereafter breastfeeding and solid foods until at least 12 months. The Healthy People 2010 goal is at least 75% of infants breastfed at hospital discharge, 50% at six months of age, and 25% at one year.
At The Workplace
Employers have a role to play in support of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding has been shown to be important for the health and development of infants. Employers can benefit from support of breastfeeding through reduced costs, increased job productivity and decreased absenteeism.
For More Information
Contra Costa County Regional Breastfeeding Liaison
August 1, 2013
yourhealth: The Benefits of Breastfeeding
- Breastfeeding Resource Directory | Spanish
- Frenotomy Referrals
- yourhealth Video: