As National Breastfeeding Month in August wraps up, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s WIC—or Women, Infant, Children—program is continuing to share resources through its breastfeeding awareness campaign.

What the experts say

According to the Texas WIC, breastfeeding has lifelong benefits for both moms and babies. Breastmilk has hundreds of ingredients and antibodies that help protect babies from illness and allergies. For moms, breastfeeding has been linked to lower rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and even certain cancers.

About the program

Texas WIC offers:
  • A free 24/7 lactation support hotline
  • Breastfeeding peer counselors
  • Lactation consultants
  • Free nutrition and breastfeeding classes
  • A free breast pump and pumping supplies to qualifying moms
The program also provides nutritious foods such as milk, cheese, juice, eggs, cereal, beans, peanut butter, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Amanda Hovis, director of nutrition education and clinical services at Texas WIC, explained in a news release that the target age range is children aged 0-5 years old as well as moms who are pregnant and breastfeeding—groups who need additional nutrients as they grow and develop.

“It's really about that developing child because if we can help that child get those key nutrients at key stages of development, they'll be ready to learn in school. That’s what our goal is,” Hovis said.

What parents should know

Hovis said that eligibility for the program depends on your income and number of people in the household; for example, a family of four can make up to $55,500 and qualify.

According to the WIC:
  • Benefits are provided at no cost to eligible pregnant women, breastfeeding moms and families with children younger than 5 years old.
  • Anyone with children under the age of 5 can apply, including dads, foster parents, guardians or grandparents.
  • Moms-to-be can qualify as soon as they find out they’re pregnant.
What are the options?

There are several other lactation support organizations around the Austin metro, including: