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Finding support and information

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Molly from California says...

 

I always knew I would breastfeed my children. When our daughter was born she started eating within the first hour. It was a little uncomfortable, but I figured it would go away with time. I found out ... (more)

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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.

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:

Health professionals who help with breastfeeding

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.

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Mother-to-mother support

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.)

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WIC program

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.

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Content last updated: August 01, 2010.

Resources last updated: September 23, 2013.

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