Breastfeeding and Montana WIC
Why the Big Push to Breastfeed?
Breast milk is the best food for a baby. It is always changing to meet a baby's needs. Breast milk contains just the right amount of fatty acids, lactose, water and amino acids (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.
Benefits of Breastfeeding
There are many benefits to breastfeeding. Some are more beneficial to the mother while others are more important to the baby.
- 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 food 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. This helps her body return to its 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 generally 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 Montana WIC Program provides information about breastfeeding to a woman during her pregnancy. After delivery, the Montana WIC Program continues to provide information and advice about any specific breastfeeding issues she has.
Support for new mothers during the first weeks of breastfeeding is essential to ensure breastfeeding success. The Montana WIC Program now has several Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Projects in place around the state. They can be found at the Cascade County WIC Program, Custer County WIC Program, Deer Lodge County WIC Program, Missoula County WIC Program and Ravalli County WIC Program.
Breastfeeding women on the WIC Program receive specific nutritious foods: milk, cheese, eggs, iron-fortified cereal, vitamin C-rich juice and peanut butter/dried beans. If a breastfeeding woman's infant does not receive any formula from the Montana WIC Program, she receives, in addition to the other foods, more cheese, more juice, both peanut butter and dried beans, carrots, and tuna.
The Montana WIC Program has various breast pumps available for breastfeeding mothers and infants. We have hospital-grade, multi-user breast pumps which are used when the mother and infant are separated, such as an infant in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Single-user electric breast pumps are available to mothers who return to work or school and are separated from their infants for long periods of the day. Manual breast pumps are available to mothers who are occasionally separated from their infants for part of the day.
Montana WIC Program
1400 Broadway, Cogswell Bldg. C305
PO Box 202951
Helena, MT 59620-2951
Telephone: 800-433-4298 or (406) 444-5533