There are so many great reasons to breastfeed! And so much research to support how healthy it is!
Good for Babies!
Breastfeeding is good for babies. In the first few days after baby is born, mothers make colostrum, a thick yellowish milk filled with antibodies and protein that are "liquid gold" for baby's first few days. Breastfed babies are less likely to get sick and have fewer digestive problems. When baby's immunities are at their lowest between 2 to 6 months, it's especially important that mom's antibodies and anti-viruses are passed along through breastfeeding. Breastfed babies are smarter and do better in school. There are so many good reasons for your baby to breastfeed.
Good for Mothers!
Breastfeeding is also good for mothers. Breastfeeding helps new mothers relax. When nursing, a hormone called prolactin, known as the mothering hormone, is produced. Another hormone, oxytocin, released shortly after birth, helps the uterus contract and return to its pre-pregnant size. Breastfeeding helps mom and baby bond and feel close. Breastfeeding helps reduce a mother's risk of developing certain cancers. And breast feeding is cheap. At one year, a breastfed baby will save between $900 and $2,160 dollars on formula.
There's Help Available!
Here in Washtenaw County, WIC is an excellent resource for breastfeeding. WIC (Women, Infants and Children) has many breastfeeding support programs for moderate to low income families. WIC's programs for pregnant women and families with children up to age 5 include:
- Peer to Peer breastfeeding counselors
- Lactation consultants for breastfeeding support
- Free breast pumps for mothers returning to work or school
- Food as food packages or Project Fresh booklets ($25 to spend at local farmer's markets)
- Nutrition counseling including health care referrals and immunizations
- WIC Connect app to help you connect with WIC services
To contact WIC (?should this clarify that this is contacting the WIC peer counselors, not the main WIC number?), you can call 734-544-2995, email firstname.lastname@example.org or connect through their Breastfeeding support facebook page @WashtenawWICBF.
Marketplace (healthcare.gov) and other ACA-Compliant Insurance
Health insurance plans must provide breastfeeding support, counseling, and equipment for the duration of breastfeeding. These services may be provided before and after birth. This applies to Marketplace plans and all other health insurance plans, except for grandfathered plans.
These health insurance plans must also cover the cost of a breast pump. It may be either a rental unit or a new one you’ll keep. Your plan may have guidelines on whether the covered pump is manual or electric, the length of the rental, and when you’ll receive it (before or after birth). It’s up to you and your doctor to decide what's right for you.
Washtenaw County Breastfeeding Coalition is a group of volunteers made up of doctors, hospital based IBCLCs, WIC breastfeeding coordinators, peer counselors, private practice IBCLCs, La Leche League Leaders, birth and postpartum doulas, Certified Lactation Counselors, public health workers, dieticians, nurses, mothers, fathers, caregivers, business owners, and anyone else who is interested in promoting and supporting breastfeeding in the local area.
Maternal Infant Health Program (MIHP) is a home visiting program for pregnant women and infants with Medicaid. Services include education, service coordination, support, breastfeeding and nutrition support and referrals. To enroll, call 734-544-2984 or 734-544-9749 or ask your doctor for a referral.
As always if you have questions or need help with healthcare coverage, please call the Washtenaw Health Plan 734-544-3030. Or you can leave a comment/question below!