By Moryn Mendoza, MA, IBCLC
Did you know that WIC participants in Massachusetts have access to a full range of breastfeeding support, from Breastfeeding Peer Counselors to International Board Certified Lactation Consultants? As soon as you are pregnant, or at any point during your breastfeeding journey, your local WIC office can assign you a Peer Counselor—someone trained in breastfeeding support who has breastfed her own baby. If you ever need advanced support, your Peer Counselor can refer you to an IBCLC. Through the WIC Regional IBCLC Project, every one of the 31 WIC offices has either its own WIC Lactation Consultant or a Regional IBCLC available for participants.
Here are the top three things to know about the WIC Regional IBCLC Project:
1. Free service for any WIC family
As of 2021, any participant in the Massachusetts WIC Program who is working with a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor qualifies to receive clinical care from an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). The IBCLC can chat with them over the phone or meet either virtually or in person at their local WIC office. From flange sizing to supporting a low milk supply, the IBCLCs can help families overcome challenges and meet their breastfeeding goals.
2. Support WIC staff and Breastfeeding Peer Counselors
The Regional IBCLCs offer trainings and support for staff to help increase their knowledge and confidence when working with both pregnant and breastfeeding participants. Using real case studies and bi-weekly newsletters, the IBCLCs stay connected with staff across the state and are available to anyone needing extra help or advice when dealing with questions or concerns outside of their scope of practice.
3. Offer referrals and resources
Our families can be connected to resources within their communities that can support their breastfeeding journeys. These can include bodyworkers (chiropractors, physical or occupational therapists, craniosacral therapists, etc.), tongue tie release providers (ENT or pediatric dentists), and all types of new parent necessities (diapers, clothing, childcare, housing, etc.). The IBCLCs are part of the team that helps families care for their newborns’ health and well-being. For more information, please contact the Breastfeeding Coordinator at your local WIC office.
WIC has you covered! Reach out to your local office today.
MBC Board Member Moryn Mendoza is a Regional IBCLC Specialist with the Massachusetts WIC Program. A mom to three boys, she is a bicultural first-generation Venezuelan American and is fluent in Spanish. To learn more about Moryn and the other MBC Board Members, please visit the About page of our website.