Welcome to the Vermont WIC Breastfeeding Page

    You already know that breastfeeding is best for you and your baby. What you may not know is that learning to breastfeed can take a little time, patience and practice.

    Explore the features on this page to expand your knowledge, build your confidence, meet other moms, and connect with resources in your community. When you choose to give your baby the amazing gift of breastfeeding, you can count on us to support your decision.
    You Can Do It and
    WIC Can Help!

  • Watch Videos

    Build your breastfeeding knowledge and confidence with these video tips.

  • Get Inspired

    Follow four moms as they plan to breastfeed, overcome challenges and discover amazing rewards.

  • Plan For Breastfeeding

    Use these simple checklists to prepare for breastfeeding, because Knowledge + Support + Confidence = Success!

  • Read Stories; Share Yours

    Read stories from women like you and be inspired to reach your breastfeeding goal.

  • Find Resources

    • In Your Community Get support from local professionals and peers.
    • Parenting Connect to more online resources.
    • Working Continue breastfeeding after you return to work.

Watch Videos

Get Inspired

click link on left to view comic online

Plan For Success

My Breastfeeding Checklist

Read Stories; Share Yours

  • Born and Raised
    The Vermont Way

  • Tara

    For me, I knew I wanted to breastfeed my baby. What I wasn't really prepared for was how challenging it could be initially. I had support through WIC, my hospital and a network of supports in the community to help me get started.

    In some ways I think that breastfeeding is the first and most significant gift I am giving my son. The benefits for our relationship as well as his health will be life long. And little in my life has compared to seeing when he's had his fill of breastmilk and it pours from the crevices of his mouth as he smiles hugely in satisfaction.

    Tara

    Breastfeeding is the first and most significant gift I am giving my son. The benefits for our relationship as well as his health will be life long.

    read full story

  • Saadiya

    The oldest one is 15, then 13, 11, 8, 5, 4 and the baby. They were all breastfed for two years, and all are very healthy. Breastfeeding is in our culture, our history, our way of life. When I came to the United States, of course it would be the same thing. What could be better for them, for me?

    Saadiya

    Breastfeeding is in our culture, our history, our way of life. What could be better for them, for me?

    read full story

  • Arlene

    Diabetes runs in my family. I know that it is healthier for Maddy, so I'll breastfeed her as long as I can. I love the bonding moments, especially when she reaches out to me with her hands.

    Arlene

    Diabetes runs in my family. I know that it is healthier for Maddy, so I'll breastfeed her as long as I can.

    read full story

  • Corrie

    Breastfeeding doesn't always come easily. Sure your body makes milk, but it's sometimes hard. It takes practice. With each son, and I have three, there have been different challenges. But with each child I've been able to breastfeed 2 months longer — the last one was for 14 months.

    You don't really know what to expect until you do it. The first child was the most challenging because I was new at it. And working at the farm, being able to meet the demands of the animals and the child, it was definitely easier to breastfeed without having to deal with bottles and formula.

    Corrie

    It takes practice. Working at the farm, it was definitely easier to breastfeed without having to deal with bottles and formula.

    read full story

  • Chelsa

    Before I had Jack I was just a teenager, and wanted to go on being a teenager. And then when I had him, I knew breastfeeding was the right decision.

    When I was in the hospital I knew I wanted to get it right, and called for help whenever I needed help getting him to latch on. I'm still breastfeeding 13 months later.

    Chelsa

    When I was in the hospital I knew I wanted to get it right, and called for help whenever I needed help.

    read full story

  • Sonya & Matt

    WE had challenges with my first two, but we were determined to breastfeed. For the first one, I used a lactation consultant, which definitely got us off to a good start. For the second one, a WIC peer counselor was able to help identify that the problem was that he was tongue-tied. He couldn't get a good latch, and wasn't taking in enough. We went to a specialist who fixed it, and then he latched on strongly and grew well after that.

    We have three kids, which can get pretty crazy. When I'm nursing, it's better for all of us — we sit down and read a book, and we all get to mellow out.

    It's also easier. After the first two weeks of figuring out how your bodies fit together, it's easier because there are no bags to pack or stuff to bring. We're a self-contained unit.

    Sonya & Matt

    We have three kids, which can get pretty crazy. When I'm nursing, its better for all of us. We sit down and get to mellow out.

    read full story

  • Vicki Kirby is an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and Registered Nurse (RN). She lives and works in Addison County, Vermont.

    What is a lactation consultant?
    I am an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant, or IBCLC. IBCLCs have extensive training, and complete a comprehensive certification exam. We keep our knowledge, skills and practice up to date through a mandatory recertification program. As a member of the health care team, the IBCLC provides breastfeeding assistance, helps manage problems, and supports breastfeeding best practices. An IBCLC can provide consultation in the hospital or healthcare setting, and some offer home visits as well.

    How long have you been a lactation consultant?
    I love working with mothers and babies and have been doing this since 1980. I became a board certified lactation consultant in 1996.

    What are some of the services you provide as a lactation consultant?
    Oh, there are lots of things. I've been teaching a prenatal breastfeeding class at the hospital for over 10 years. It is open to everyone in the community. I also work in the Birthing Center several days a week. In my private practice, I offer home lactation visits to assist mothers and babies in all aspects of breastfeeding, to help mom achieve her goals.

    I rent and sell breast pumps, and other breastfeeding supplies and host a monthly breastfeeding support group that is free to anyone from pregnancy through birth, the early months, and weaning.

    I love the group time!

    What happens in a breastfeeding class?
    Breastfeeding classes go over the basics; how to get started, positions, how to recognize a good latch, how to know that breastfeeding is going well, and who to call for help. I make sure moms know who to call if there‘s any question about how breastfeeding is going. It's really important to be seen within 1-3 days if you or your baby have any problems.

    The class is part of the childbirth series; new parents know that learning about breastfeeding is important. I try to keep it fun, and informal.

    What are some things moms can do to ensure a healthy milk supply?
    The first thing is to put your baby skin-to-skin on your chest right after birth. This helps the baby to regulate heart rate, temperature and blood sugar levels, but mostly it keeps baby and mom together and helps get breastfeeding off to a great start. In a short time, your baby will show signs of hunger and will self-attach to the breast usually by 30-60 minutes of age. Lots of skin-to-skin contact and early breastfeeding helps your milk to come in (at least 8-12 times in 24 hours) and helps calm your baby.

    What are some of the normal challenges that a breastfeeding mom might encounter in the first few days?
    Exhaustion.
    I often hear from moms who feel that they are feeding all the time. Eight to twelve times in 24 hours is normal, which helps to stimulate milk production and prevent engorgement. Babies' tummies are small so they need to eat often and moms need support to rest when their baby rests.

    Knowing baby is getting enough.
    Parents need to know their baby is sucking and swallowing; they need to learn how to tell when their baby is feeding well, and how many wet and poopy diapers to expect. Looking at the baby's output is a good way to know if babies are getting enough.

    Breastfeeding should never be painful!
    It is essential to learn how to tell if the baby is properly positioned and latched-on well. If pain or other problems arise, the sooner you call for help the better.

    Is there anything else you'd like to offer parents who are considering or planning to breastfeeding?
    Mom's body is built to make milk. I've worked with moms who had been bottle feeding for 3 months but because of allergies wanted to go back to breastfeeding and we were able to get the milk back in. It's in our biology.

    For any mom, it really helps to go to a class and connect to other moms or a support group, especially if you're the first in your family to breastfeed. There can be a lot of pressure, doubts or fear about pain or milk supply. Keep in mind — you can do it. Breastfeeding is what moms and babies are built to do.

    Vicki
    Lacation Consultant

    There can be a lot of pressure, doubts or fear about pain or milk supply. But keep in mind — You Can Do it!

    read full story

  • An interview with Samantha Kachmar, WIC Peer Counselor

    What is a peer counselor?
    A peer counselor is a mom who has been on the WIC program or is currently on WIC and has breastfed or is breastfeeding. We complete a breastfeeding peer counseling training program to be able to provide support to new moms — not only for breastfeeding but some of the other challenges of being a new mom too.

    How long have you been a peer counselor?
    I've been a peer counselor for a little over a year. Before that I was an intern at the Department of Health while I was finishing my Human Services degree, where my focus was women and children.

    How many children do you have?
    I have three children, I breastfed them all. For the first one, I didn't have all the support I needed, so stopped earlier than I could have. That's one of the reasons why I got into this work, so that I can support mothers in breastfeeding longer for the optimal health for both the baby and mother.

    What are some of the things that a peer counselor might do with or for a mom-to-be?
    When she's pregnant, we share information about breastfeeding and what to expect. Peer counselors can meet with moms one to one, and we also run a mom-to-mom breastfeeding class. In that class we cover the first 48 hours of what to expect in the hospital and when you bring the baby home. We call moms on a monthly basis or more frequently, to answer questions and give information to help them make an informed decision about breastfeeding. And we also connect moms to resources if something comes up that is beyond our scope. We can refer them to an IBCLC, which is an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

    I think a big part of peer counseling is just reassuring moms. Not every mom is going to have breastfeeding problems or issues, for some it just works like clockwork. But some have normal challenges, and we explain that what is happening is normal or to be expected and that they're doing the best thing for their baby. Some moms do have more challenges, like thrush or mastitis, and we can support them as they seek out help for those things.

    We also do home visits if needed, to help with latch or confidence building. We can meet our moms at their WIC visit, if they choose, and speak with them there. Behind the scenes, we work with community partners (such as La Leche League, MD offices, etc.) to provide outreach and increased awareness and support of breastfeeding. This, hopefully, helps to build stronger, family friendly communities in which to live and work!

    Since we're all moms, we've all experienced the exhaustion, maybe some challenge like clogged ducts, and so we been there, and can support moms from our own experience.

    What sort of tips might you give new moms who are considering breastfeeding?
    Making milk is a natural process — your body will do that. But breastfeeding is a learned skill. Taking a breastfeeding class is an important step, either through WIC or your local hospital. In the mom-to-mom class, we talk about skin-to-skin, frequency of feeds, about the tummy size of the baby, how many wet or dirty diapers to expect, and signs that your baby is getting enough. We also talk to them about the latch, and what a good latch would mean.

    The challenge with all of this is that it is like riding a bike; you can talk to someone about it, but unless you're actually doing it, it's not all going to make sense until you do it. At least they have the information floating in their head, so can call on it if they need to.

    Peer counselors are here to help — we make several phone calls throughout the pregnancy, and can help with challenges as they arise or offer referrals. We're all extremely dedicated to supporting moms to reach their breastfeeding goal!

    Samantha
    Peer Counselor

    I think a big part of peer counseling is just reassuring moms. Breastfeeding is a learned skill and peer counselors are here to help.

    read full story

Find Resources

  • In Your Community
  • Barre
  • Bennington
  • Brattleboro
  • Burlington
  • Middlebury
  • Morrisville
  • Newport
  • Rutland
  • Springfield
  • St. Albans
  • St. Johnsbury
  • White River Jct

  • Parenting & Breastfeeding
  • Working & Breastfeeding

You Can Do It, WIC Can Help

  • WIC Supports You and Your Breastfeeding Goal


    We know that breastfeeding is important to you and we want you to meet your personal breastfeeding goal. WIC supports breastfeeding through education, peer counseling, nutrition, and provides pumps for moms returning to work or school.

    Moms are better able to meet their breastfeeding goals when they:

    • Discuss their breastfeeding plans with their prenatal health care provider at every visit.
    • Talk about breastfeeding with family and friends throughout their pregnancy.
    • Set their breastfeeding goal and receive targeted breatfeeding information from WIC.
    • Learn about hospital practices important for breastfeeding and share their infant feeding plan woth hospital staff and support team.
    • Contact WIC for breastfeeding support and choose the food package for exclusively breastfeeding moms and babies.
    • Receive referrals to community lactation experts, especially WIC breastfeeding peer counselors.

    Knowledge + Support + Confidence = Success


    For more information CONTACT YOUR LOCAL WIC DISTRICT OFFICE

  • Benefits to Think About

    Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months, and continued breastfeeding for at least the first year of your baby's life, may result in important, lifetime health benefits for you and your baby.

  • About the WIC Mother/Baby
    Breastfeeding Study

    The federally funded WIC Mother/Baby Breastfeeding Study was designed to improve each woman's chance to meet her personal breastfeeding goals. Learn more about the study at WIC WORKS. Access Intervention Materials (Social Marketing Materials, Academic Detailing Brochure), Intervention Protocol and Final Report.

    The Vermont WIC program would like to thank all the mothers, local staff, and community partners who supported this work and helped WIC improve our services to moms and babies.