Breastfeeding is the most precious gift a mother can give her infant. When there is illness or malnutrition, it may be a lifesaving gift. When there is poverty it may be the only gift. –Ruth Lawrence, MD

Breastfeeding–Global, National, Local Priority Health authorities recommend exclusive breastfeeding for all newborns and infants. At South LA Health Projects, breastfeeding promotion and support is integral to our mission to enhance the health status and quality of life for our participants and their families. Breastfeeding is a low-tech, high-impact way to improve infant, child, maternal and family health and well-being; its benefits can last a lifetime and extend into future generations. Breastfeeding is a powerful way to reduce health disparities.

American Academy of Pediatrics As stated on its website, “The AAP reaffirms its recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for about six months followed by continued breastfeeding as complimentary foods are introduced with continuation of breastfeeding for one year or longer as mutually desired by mother and infant.” To learn the facts behind the AAP’s recommendation, read more here>>

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists ACOG states: “Breastfeeding is the preferred method of feeding for newborns and infants.” ACOG calls upon its Fellows, other health professionals and hospitals to support women to breastfeed. Read their full statement here>>

Impact of Exclusive Breastfeeding Exclusive breastfeeding not only increases survival during infancy but also lowers the risk of serious chronic diseases later in life. Often called an infant’s first immunization, mother’s milk contains living substances that cannot be manufactured. When a mother does not breastfeed, she unnecessarily heightens health risks for both her infant and herself, including obesity, diabetes, and breast and ovarian cancers.

Education and Support—Intertwined Breastfeeding services are provided to our participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). We provide a WIC mother numerous opportunities for education and support, sometimes in a group setting, at other times one-on-one, to help her through the joyous yet often trying period of parenthood. To learn about WIC, read more here>>

Education A newborn can surprise and challenge even the best-informed mother. Is he nursing enough? Is she nursing too often? Why is he crying? How can I comfort her? Will I ever get a full night’s sleep again? The breastfeeding conversation begins as soon as an expectant mother enrolls in WIC and continues as her baby grows.

WIC educators answer expectant and new mothers’ questions and help them gain confidence. Mothers can also take part in group education, which incorporates guidance not only on how to breastfeed but also on how to recognize and understand a baby’s cues. Read more about our breastfeeding education here>>

Support Each stage of a baby’s growth brings new questions and sometimes new concerns. We listen to and support our mothers as their questions and needs arise. We offer many forms of support: individual education and support with caring and knowledgeable WIC educators and breastfeeding peer counselors, drop-in breastfeeding support groups, our Breastfeeding Telephone Helpline, and breast pumps for work, school and medical need. Read more about the support we offer here>> [Support page]

It Takes a Village Although the decision to breastfeed is a personal one, a mother’s likelihood of success is impacted by others. The support she receives from her medical providers, in the hospital, and from her family is critical. We reach out to health care providers, sharing with them the latest breastfeeding information and resources. We welcome family members to take part in our education. And because mothers also need a positive hospital experience that makes breastfeeding success more likely, we work closely with the Breastfeed LA/Breastfeeding Task Force of Greater LA, which helps hospitals become more supportive of breastfeeding in their policy and practice.