While breastfeeding may seem like the easiest and most natural thing for mothers to do, it can be overwhelming and frustrating for many. That is why August is observed as National Breastfeeding Month, a month dedicated to advancing advocacy, protection, and promotion of breastfeeding to ensure that all families have the opportunity to breastfeed.

World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is celebrated around the world from August 1 through August 7. This year’s theme is “Step Up for Breastfeeding – Educate and Support.” To assist in providing education and support for breastfeeding, the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program at the Florida Department of Health in Osceola County has a team of knowledgeable and compassionate breastfeeding counselors to offer advice and lend mothers support to achieve their breastfeeding goals.

Some of the many benefits to babies who receive their mother’s milk include the following:
• Fewer ear infections, respiratory infections and digestive infection.
• Lowered risk of developing diabetes or cancer.
• Lowered risk of developing asthma and allergies.
• Lessened likelihood of obesity later in life.
• Reduced likelihood of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Some of the proven benefits to women who breastfeed include the following:
• Faster recovery after birth and a tendency to lose pregnancy weight faster.
• Lessened likelihood of developing diabetes.
• Reduced risk for breast and ovarian cancer.
• Less stress and reduced risk of postpartum depression.
• Enhancement of the bond with their baby through skin-to-skin touching and eye contact that is shared during breastfeeding.
• Saving time and money: breast milk is always ready and free.

In-person appointments are available for WIC clients interested in a prenatal breastfeeding class or to offer guidance for mothers. Breastfeeding services can be provided in the WIC client’s preferred language through a bi-lingual staff member or an interpreter service, if needed. For moms who qualify for WIC, our Kissimmee office has a limited number of breast pumps available to our clients based on need and priority. WIC clients interested in a breast pump must meet with one of our lactation consultants prior to the issuance of a breast pump. Please call 407-343-2087 for more information.

The breastfeeding help line can be reached at 407-343-2087 and is available seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. to provide breastfeeding support and answers to questions you may have. This program is part of the commitment that WIC has to support breastfeeding as the normal and healthiest way to feed babies.

To see if you qualify for the WIC program call 407-343-2085 or visit www.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/wic/wic-eligibility.html.

For more information about World Breastfeeding Week, visit https://worldbreastfeedingweek.org/.