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How WIC Supports Breastfeeding (Checklist)Breastfeeding is one of the most important gifts you can give your baby. Breastfeeding provides many health, nutritional, emotional, and economic benefits to mothers and babies. Babies who are breastfed have reduced risk for numerous health conditions, including asthma, ear and respiratory infections, and allergies. Babies who are breastfed also have lower lifetime risk for health conditions such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. Mothers who breastfeed for at least six months reduce their risk for Type II diabetes, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer. The longer a woman breastfeeds during her lifetime, the more her risk is reduced.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Healthy People 2030 establishes objectives to improve the health and safety of infants, including increasing exclusive infant breastfeeding through 6 months old and increasing breastfeeding throughout a child's first year.

WIC Supports Breastfeeding

A major goal of the WIC Program is to improve the nutritional status of infants. The Alabama WIC Program encourages WIC mothers to choose breastfeeding in the following ways:

  • WIC staff complete comprehensive training to assist breastfeeding mothers with prevention and management of common breastfeeding challenges.
  • WIC mothers receive breastfeeding information and support during pregnancy and throughout each stage of the breastfeeding journey to help them meet their breastfeeding goals.
  • Some WIC clinics offer Breastfeeding Peer Counselors, enthusiastic support staff with personal breastfeeding experience and specialized training, who help other WIC moms achieve their breastfeeding goals. (Can you see yourself as a WIC Peer Counselor? Visit Career Opportunities more information.)
  • Pacify LogoAlabama WIC participants now have free, unlimited access to expert infant feeding support, anytime: days, nights, weekends, and holidays. Pacify is an app that instantly connects users to a nationwide network of International Board Certified Lactation Consultants. WIC participants can contact their local Alabama WIC clinic or call the Alabama WIC Program state office toll free at 888-WIC-HOPE (888-942-4673) for assistance with enrolling in Pacify. 
  • Breastfeeding mothers are eligible to participate in WIC longer than non-breastfeeding mothers.
  • Mothers who exclusively breastfeed receive a larger amount and variety of foods.
  • Breast pumps and other breastfeeding items may be provided, based upon established issuance criteria and availability, to help WIC mothers start and continue breastfeeding for as long as possible.
  • To help strengthen the network of breastfeeding support, the Alabama WIC Breastfeeding Resource Guide lists community breastfeeding resources by county and is updated annually. Individuals and organizations that provide breastfeeding support may use the attached form to submit information for the 2023 Guide.

Breastfeeding Basics and Beyond

One of the most common reasons mothers give for stopping breastfeeding earlier than planned is a concern about low milk production. During pregnancy, hormones prepare a mother's breasts to produce milk. During the first hours after delivery, mothers can use simple strategies, the "ABC's of breastfeeding," to set the stage for abundant milk production.

Finding comfortable nursing positions that work well for moms and babies can make the early weeks much easier. “Natural Breastfeeding” is a simple approach to finding comfortable nursing positions that allow baby to nurse effectively, while reducing common challenges like painful latch and sore nipples.

It’s Only Natural” has information, videos, and practical tips for African-American women and their families about the health benefits of breastfeeding — not just for babies, but for moms too.

New Little Life” is the YouTube channel of Allison Tolman, IBCLC – a breastfeeding mom herself whose honest insights on all things breastfeeding, particularly breast pumps and pumping, are both informative and entertaining.

"Setting Your Breastfeeding Goals" – helps you to take breastfeeding day-by-day and celebrates the little successes and milestones between your baby's birth and first birthday. 

"A Better Balance" - Do you know about the new federal law called the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act? This new law provides groundbreaking protections for pregnant, postpartum, and pumping workers, and gives you the right to get accommodations at work that will help you keep your job and protect your health. The law gives you the right to things like extra breaks, flexible scheduling to attend doctors appointments, time off to recover from childbirth or miscarriage, light duty, remote work, and much more. This new law only helps workers if they know about it. Check out the Know Your Rights site from our friends at "A Better Balance" to learn more.


Relactation is the process of re-establishing lactation after having stopped for some time and can also refer to increasing milk supply after a decrease in breastfeeding has occurred – a mother might have stopped breastfeeding earlier than planned or mother and infant might have been separated because of illness, resulting in reduced milk supply.

The process to relactate or build back a declining milk supply requires time and dedication. Not all mothers will be able to establish a full milk supply through relactation. Infants must continue to receive adequate nutrition while mothers work to relactate or build milk supply. As breast milk supply increases, it may be possible to reduce or discontinue formula feedings; however, infant growth should be carefully monitored during the transition.

WIC participants can contact their WIC clinic for help with developing a plan that supports achievement of relactation goals, establishes realistic expectations, and safeguards infant growth. Below are some relactation resources that parents may find helpful.

Breastfeeding Frequently Asked Questions

Alabama WIC Program participants who are interested in obtaining a breast pump can request one through the WIC clinic after their baby is born. A WIC provider will complete a needs assessment and recommend a breast pump, if indicated, based upon established issuance criteria and availability.
Different types of breast pumps are available to WIC participants without a prescription. A WIC provider will assess your needs after delivery and recommend an appropriate breast pump, if indicated, based upon established issuance criteria and availability.
The Alabama WIC Program does not charge for, partner with, or bill your health insurance for WIC breastfeeding promotion and support services or breastfeeding aids, including breast pumps. Breastfeeding WIC participants can request a breast pump from their WIC clinic after delivery. A WIC provider will complete a needs assessment and recommend an appropriate breast pump, if indicated, based upon established issuance criteria and availability. If you need to confirm coverage of breast pumps through your health insurance, we recommend that you contact your insurance provider or a breast pump retailer.
If you are not participating in WIC when your baby is born, you will need to first complete an initial certification appointment in the WIC clinic. If you are already participating in WIC before your baby is born, you can contact the WIC clinic to request a breast pump after delivery. A WIC provider will assess your needs and recommend an appropriate breast pump, if indicated, based upon established issuance criteria and availability. If your baby will be staying in the hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), consider calling the WIC clinic prior to your hospital discharge to schedule an initial appointment and/or confirm availability of a hospital-grade electric breast pump. Electric breast pump availability may occasionally be delayed due to limited clinic inventory.
Immediately after baby’s birth, there is a special window of opportunity for moms and babies to get breastfeeding off to a strong start. Even if you plan to only pump your breast milk, skin-to-skin time with your newborn, along with nursing or expressing colostrum (early breast milk) soon after birth, signals your body to boost milk production. This helps set the stage for successful breastfeeding and pumping. Hospital nurses and lactation staff can show you how to express breast milk for your baby.
Alabama WIC clinics have various types of breast pumps available. WIC providers will consider your needs and breastfeeding goals to recommend a suitable breast pump, based upon established issuance criteria and availability. If the WIC provider assesses a medical need for a breast pump, the provider will arrange for you to receive a double electric, “hospital-grade” breast pump. Typically, unless there is a medical need, you will be offered a manual breast pump if your baby is less than four weeks old, to support establishment of your milk supply.
Alabama WIC clinics have various types of breast pumps available to meet specific needs. If a “hospital-grade” electric pump is most appropriate, you can borrow a WIC multi-user pump, which must be returned to the clinic when you no longer need it. If you did not receive the correct collection kit in the hospital, you will also be provided a new collection kit, which prevents cross-contamination among multiple users over the lifespan of the pump. For other needs, a single-user, “personal” electric pump or a manual pump may be most appropriate. Single-user pumps, manual breast pumps, and collection kits are yours to keep and should not be sold or shared due to the increased risk of cross-contamination with these items.
WIC promotes and supports breastfeeding because the short- and long-term health advantages of breastfeeding for babies and moms make breastfeeding the optimal infant feeding choice. WIC food packages are designed to meet the supplemental nutritional needs of breastfeeding mothers and infants, while minimizing supplementation with infant formula during the first four weeks when milk supply is being established. Formula feedings interfere with production of the mother’s own milk. Breastfeeding is essentially a supply-and-demand process – if feedings at the breast are regular and consistent, mom’s body will respond by producing enough breastmilk to meet the demand. But if feedings at the breast (or pumping sessions) are skipped, breastmilk production naturally decreases. Breastfeeding moms receive larger quantities and a greater variety of foods in the WIC food package. They can also participate in WIC for up to a full year, compared with six months for non-breastfeeding women.
If you are concerned that your breast milk supply is not adequate for your baby’s needs, we encourage you to contact a WIC provider or a breastfeeding consultant in your community or delivering hospital to discuss your concerns, before beginning or increasing formula feedings. These specialists can help with assessing your baby’s
nutritional needs, weight gain, and latch, and they can suggest techniques to help increase breast milk supply, if needed.
Federal regulations do not allow the use of banked human milk in the WIC Program. For information about using banked human breast milk or donating breast milk, contact your delivering hospital’s lactation department, the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Alabama, or the Human Milk Banking Association of North America.

Page last updated: October 5, 2023