Breastfeeding is the best way to both nourish and nurture your baby. Learning to breastfeed takes practice for you and your baby.
You'll find a variety of basic breastfeeding information on this page. For more details, talk to your obstetrician or pediatrician, a lactation consultant, nurse, nutritionist, other health professionals or other women who have breastfed.
On March 28, 2006, the Kentucky General Assembly passed
Senate Bill 106, which gives mothers the right to breastfeed or express breastmilk in any location, public or private.
How the WIC Program Supports Breastfeeding
WIC promotes, supports and encourages mothers to breastfeed their babies for its many proven health, nutrition and emotional benefits to both mothers and babies. Currently, more than half of U.S. infants benefit from the WIC nutrition program.
Advantages of Breastfeeding
For the Baby
- Breast milk is the best food for baby. It has everything baby needs to grow and develop. It is easy to digest. Breast milk changes to meet the needs of the baby and is perfect for healthy, premature or sick newborns.
- Breastfeeding helps protect baby from getting sick. Breastfed babies have fewer ear infections and stomach problems like diarrhea and vomiting. That can mean fewer trips to the clinic or hospital.
- Breastfeeding may help decrease or delay the onset of allergies.
- Breastfeeding helps in the correct growth of baby’s face, mouth and teeth. This can mean fewer dental bills.
- Breastfeeding provides better brain development. This may lead to your child having a higher IQ.
- Breastfeeding gives babies skin-to-skin contact and is comforting to the baby.
For the Mother
- Breastfeeding helps the mother feel close and bonded with her baby. By spending time together, the mother learns about her baby’s likes and dislikes and gains confidence in meeting baby’s needs.
- Breastfeeding helps the mother feel more relaxed and peaceful.
- Breastfeeding burns calories. Weight loss after pregnancy may be easier for the mother if she is breastfeeding.
- Breastfeeding saves time, since there are no bottles to clean, prepare, warm or sterilize. Breast milk is always ready and the correct temperature.
- Breastfeeding saves money.
- Working mothers who breastfeed miss less work because of a sick baby.
- Breastfeeding makes travel easier, since there is less stuff to haul around.
- During natural disasters such as tornadoes and floods, breastmilk is available and safe.
- Breastfeeding may reduce the risk of breast and uterine cancer.
Especially for Teens
- Breastfeeding gives the mother something that only she can do for her baby. It is a special connection that the baby’s grandmother or babysitter can’t have.
- Breastfeeding can be a source of pride, a sign of maturity and responsibility in caring for a baby.
For the Father and other Family Members
- Breastfeeding can save money. Formula and bottle-feeding equipment can expensive.
- There is less time off work to take care of a sick baby or to take the baby to the doctor and less money spent on medication.
- Breastmilk does not stain clothing.
- Breastfed babies' bowel movements are less smelly than those of a formula fed infant.
Supporting breastfeeding has many advantages for business.
- The payoff for breastfeeding support is significant: more satisfaction, loyal employees and cost savings for businesses.
- Breastfeeding employees miss work less often than mothers who formula fed their infants.
- One-day absences to care for sick children occurs twice more often for mothers of formula feeding infants.
- Breastfeeding lowers business healthcare costs
- Breastfed infants have fewer doctor visits and hospitalizations leading to lower medical bills.
- Breastfed babies also have fewer prescriptions.
- Breastfeeding support also leads to lower turnover rates and high employee productivity and loyalty.
Health Department Breastfeeding Promotion Coordinators
Each health department or district in Kentucky has a staff breastfeeding promotion coordinator who can offer information on area breastfeeding resources, support groups, retailers and contacts and help answer breastfeeding questions. Call your local health department to meet the breastfeeding promotion coordinator serving your area.
Your Local Lactation Consultant
International board-certified lactation consultants are breastfeeding health professionals often found at hospitals, health departments, in doctors’ offices or in breastfeeding shops. If you need help finding a lactation consultant near you, contact the
International Lactation Consultant Association at (919) 787-5181.
Breastfeeding Peer Counselors
Many agencies have breastfeeding peer counselors in the WIC program. These counselors are able to provide mother-to-mother support for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Check with your local health department about the availability of breastfeeding peer counselors.
Breastfeeding Support Groups
Groups like La Leche League are small, local groups of mothers helping mothers. They are women like you who have experience in breastfeeding their own children and can answer a lot of practical questions. You may be able to find a group by browsing La Leche League website or calling your health department breastfeeding promotion coordinator or (800) LA-LECHE.
Other Health Professionals
Your obstetrician, pediatrician, family practitioner or other physician should be knowledgeable and supportive of breastfeeding. A nurse or other staff person in the office may have helpful breastfeeding knowledge, as well. Nutritionists, neonatal nurses, midwives, childbirth instructors and home visiting nurses also are great knowledge resources. When looking for a doctor, be sure to ask questions about their feelings and practices toward breastfeeding. The
American Academy of Pediatrics has
guidelines for supportive pediatric office practices at its website.
Your Local Library
Books, CDs and magazines on breastfeeding and parenting are available at many local public libraries. If your local library doesn’t have these resources, it might be able to order materials and media resources through interlibrary loan or even buy for its collection. Materials also may be available for purchase online or at local bookstores. Sometimes local support groups have lending libraries as well.
Recommended Books for Children
- We Have a Baby by Cathryn Falwell
- We Like to Nurse by Chia Martin
- My Mama Needs Me by Mildred Pitts Walter
- Will There Be a Lap for Me? by Dorothy Corey
- Breasts by Genichiro Yagyu
- Michele, the Nursing Toddler by Jane Pinczuk
Recommended Books for Families
- The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League Int’l
- Breastfeeding Pure and Simple by Gwen Gotsch
- Mothering Your Nursing Toddler by Norma Jane Baumgarner
- Breastfeeding Your Premature Baby by Gwen Gotsch
- Nursing Mother, Working Mother by Gale Pryor
- Mothering Multiples: Breastfeeding and Caring for Twins and More by Karen Gromada
- The Nursing Mother’s Guide to Weaning by Kathleen Huggins