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Finding support and information
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Your Guide to Breastfeeding
This free publication provides information and encouragement to women on breastfeeding. It explains the benefits for baby, mom, and society. It also provides frequently asked questions and answers about breastfeeding. It is available in English, Spanish, as well as in English for African American and American Indian and Alaska Native women.
- Health professionals who help with breastfeeding
- Mother-to-mother support
- WIC program
- More information on finding support and information
There are many sources of support available for breastfeeding mothers. You can seek help from different types of health professionals, organizations, and members of your own family. Under the Affordable Care Act (sometimes called "health care reform"), more and more women will have access to breastfeeding support without any out-of-pocket costs. And don't forget, friends who have successfully breastfed can be a great source of information and encouragement! You can also learn more in the following sections:
Pediatricians, obstetricians, and certified nursemidwives can help you with breastfeeding. Other special breastfeeding professionals include:
- International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) – Lactation consultants are credentialed breastfeeding professionals with the highest level of knowledge and skill in breastfeeding support. IBCLCs are experienced in helping mothers to breastfeed comfortably by helping with positioning, latch, and a wide range of breastfeeding concerns. Many IBCLCs are also nurses, doctors, speech therapists, dietitians, or other kinds of health professionals. Ask your hospital or birthing center for the name of a lactation consultant who can help you. Or, you can go to http://www.ilca.org to find an IBCLC in your area.
- Breastfeeding Peer Counselor or Educator – A breastfeeding counselor can teach others about the benefits of breastfeeding and help women with basic breastfeeding challenges and questions. A "peer" means a person has breastfed her own baby and is available to help other mothers. Some breastfeeding educators have letters after their names like CLC (Certified Lactation Counselor) or CBE (Certified Breastfeeding Educator). Educators have special breastfeeding training but not as much as IBCLCs. These professionals still can be quite helpful.
- Doula (DOO-la) – A doula is professionally trained and experienced in giving social support to birthing families during pregnancy, labor, and birth and at home during the first few days or weeks after birth. Those who are trained in breastfeeding can help you be more successful with breastfeeding after birth.
Other breastfeeding mothers can be a great source of support. Mothers can share tips and offer one another encouragement. There are many ways you can connect with other breastfeeding mothers:
- Ask your health care provider or hospital staff to recommend a support group.
- Search your phone book or the Internet for a breastfeeding center near you. These centers may offer support groups.
- Find a local La Leche League support group by visiting the organization's website at http://www.llli.org/.
- Search the Internet for breastfeeding message boards and chats. (These resources can be great for sharing tips, but do not rely on websites for medical advice — talk to your health care provider.)
Food, nutrition counseling, and access to health services are provided to low-income women, infants, and children under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. This program is popularly known as WIC (Women, Infants, and Children). Breastfeeding mothers supported by WIC may receive educational materials, peer counselor support, an enhanced food package, breast pumps, and other supplies.
Breastfeeding mothers are also eligible to participate in WIC longer than non-breastfeeding mothers. Find contact information for your local WIC program or call the national WIC office at 703-305-2746.
More information on Finding support and information
Read more from womenshealth.gov
- Your Guide to Breastfeeding - This easy-to-read publication provides women the how-to information and support needed to breastfeed successfully. It explains why breastfeeding is best for baby, mom, and society and how loved ones can support a mother's decision to breastfeed. Expert tips and illustrations help new moms learn how to breastfeed comfortably and how to overcome common challenges.
Explore other publications and websites
- Breastfeeding - This website briefly describes the benefits of breastfeeding and what to do if you have trouble breastfeeding, and it links to information from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development about breastfeeding.
- Find a La Leche League Leader or Group Near You in the USA (Copyright © La Leche League International) - Many local La Leche League International (LLLI) groups and regions in the United States provide meeting information online. The links on this site have information on LLLI meetings and how to find leaders in these places.
- Find a Lactation Consultant (Copyright © International Lactation Consultant Association) - This online resource explains the role of the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) in maternal and child health. It lists reasons why a mother may need to consult an IBCLC and links to a searchable online directory of IBCLCs in the United States.
- Frequently Asked Questions About the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program - Access to food, nutrition counseling, and health services are provided to low-income women, infants, and children under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, popularly known as WIC. This fact sheet provides information about the program and its benefits.
- Frequently Asked Questions on: Mother-to-Mother Support for Breastfeeding (Copyright © Linkages Project) - This publication provides information on the importance of mother-to-mother support in breastfeeding and gives suggestions on how to begin a support group on your own.
- Got Mom (Copyright © American College of Nurse Midwives) - GotMom.org was created by the American College of Nurse-Midwives to provide breastfeeding information and resources for mothers and families. It has information on why breast milk is best, dispels common misunderstandings about breastfeeding, and provides a list of resources that can help women and families with breastfeeding.
- Having a Doula: Is a Doula for Me? (Copyright © American Pregnancy Association) - This online publication defines and provides information about the role of doulas.
- Who Gets WIC and How to Apply — Information about the Women, Infants and Children Program - This fact sheet provides information about WIC's eligibility requirements, length of participation, and application procedures.
- WIC Program: Contacts - This directory provides contact information for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), organized by each state. You may view contact information alphabetically (by state) or by region, and the directory includes a list of the toll-free numbers.
- WIC Works Resource System - This Internet site provides educational materials, such as journal articles and policy statements, and features links to additional breastfeeding resources for more information.
Connect with other organizations
- International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA)
- La Leche League International
- Maternal and Child Health Bureau, HRSA, HHS
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, (WIC) USDA
Content last updated: August 01, 2010.