Breastfeeding Peer Counseling Program
A WIC Peer Counselor is a mother in the community with personal breastfeeding experience who is trained to give information and support to new moms. A Peer Counselor supports new mothers and babies with breastfeeding. Our Counselors will mentor, coach and support you. Our Counselors can provide you with:
- Basic information about breastfeeding.
- Share tips for helping mothers get off to a good start with breastfeeding.
- Share ideas on how your family and friends can support you.
- Answer common questions, and encourage you when challenges arise.
- Provide tips for a healthy supply of breast milk for your baby.
- Offer tips on how to breastfeed comfortably and discreetly, even in public.
- Share advice to help you stick with breastfeeding after you return to work or school.
- Refer mothers who have challenging questions and concerns.
You can even reach some peer counselors outside of WIC clinic hours and locations. We know breastfeeding questions can happen anytime, anywhere.
Peer counselors are familiar with the resources available to WIC clients, are familiar with the questions a breastfeeding mother may ask, and recognize when to refer mothers to other resources during critical periods when mothers may experience difficulty.
Introducing our Peer Counselors
Brooke Cressler has worked as a Peer Counselor with New Opportunities for more than three years. Brooke has three children and successfully breastfed two. Brooke’s oldest daughter is Ava who was breastfed for four months. After Ava become ill challenges prevented Brooke from continuing. Brayden, Brooke’s son was breastfed for 16 months. Brooke knew that the nutrients in breast milk were so important and so much better for him than formula. Brooke set a goal of nursing until Brayden turned two. When Brooke learned she was expecting again she weaned Brayden in anticipation of Craysen’s arrival. Brooke shares one challenge she had when she breastfed her first baby, I was 21 and didn’t know much about it and it was difficult when she became sick. When I had my second baby she was very determined at home and at work that I was going to breastfeed/ pump. I ended up getting a schedule set for when I would pump while away from Brayden at work. I am a CNA also and as everyone knows that is a very busy job! Having this schedule helped me and my co-workers know about when I was going to be gone. It was a challenge to get plenty of fluids during the days when I worked the morning shifts. I switched strictly to the night shift and was able to increase my production of milk and ended up being able to give Brayden breast milk for about another month after I stopped breastfeeding.
“Breastfeeding they say is about like having another job. It is sometimes difficult and you have to devote the time for it on top of all the many other things that need to be done. When your baby is first born, they are feeding often but as they get older they get more efficient and don’t need to nurse quite as often. You will know your baby is getting enough milk by counting the wet and dirty diapers, if baby is satisfied, gaining weight, and if your breasts feel softer after breastfeeding.”
Hi, my name is Brenna Hodne and I am a busy mom of four kids. I have had quite the breastfeeding journey, but it is something that I would never want to change. When I had my firstborn 9 years ago, I was a young mom who knew nothing about breastfeeding and I wasn’t set on breastfeeding her. The nurses at The Birth Place helped me tremendously and so began my journey. I was working full time and trying to navigate being a new mom, so I only spent 3 months giving her breastmilk, but that was okay because she got the best for the first few weeks of her life.
Fast forward a couple years and we welcomed my now 5 year old son. I knew this time around I wanted to try and breastfeed him until he was a year old. The day after he was born he was taken by ambulance to Children’s in Omaha for abnormal breathing. During this time I had to pump and was not able to nurse him, but I kept going. As soon as we got home our nursing journey started over and was very successful. I loved that bonding time with him and only pumped when I was away from him, which was very seldom.
Another 2 years later we welcomed our third child, who is now 2.5. She was born with a defect called laryngomalacia. Her larynx was not all the way formed and this caused her windpipe to collapse when she was breathing. I tried so hard to nurse her, but she was not getting enough oxygen to have a good feeding. So, I pumped and pumped and pumped. When she was 3 months old she had surgery to remove a very very small piece of tissue to open up her airway and help her breathe. This was successful and I thought, “Yes! I can try and nurse her now that she can breathe!” We tried for another month, but nursing just wasn’t in the plan for us. I pumped until she was 8 months old and was able to stop because I had enough of a freezer stash to ride us out until 12 months.
Almost a year ago, we had our fourth baby. Another girl! I was determined and so excited to be able to nurse another baby and have that bonding time that I so desperately wanted. She did well the first week home, but she was jaundice and she began to lose weight. We started bottle feeding her my pumped milk. She was born 2 weeks early and was very tiny, so the Dr. thought maybe her mouth was too small to get a proper latch, so she preferred the bottle over me. We tried for 4 months to nurse, some days were successful, and some were not. I knew she was getting what she needed from my milk and continued to bottle feed her, because fed is best, no matter how badly I wanted to nurse her. I was a bit sad because, if she is our last baby I wanted it to be perfect. But, breastfeeding is far from perfect and you do what you have to, to keep your baby healthy and happy, and that is all that matters. She will be one in December and she is still loving mama’s milk and it makes me so happy that she is getting the best nourishment she can!
Breastfeeding is not easy; it takes a lot of time and a lot of effort. But, you can do it! Whether you are pumping or nursing, it will give you so much pride and joy knowing that your baby is getting the best nutrients they can. And nothing can beat the bonding time you get while sitting and feeding your baby, whether it is from the breast or bottle.