Reporter: Danner Evans l Videographer: Steven Smith
Lynchburg, VA - Research shows there is no better food than breast milk for your infant's first year of life.
The Women, Infant and Children program, or WIC, is getting the word out that breastfeeding is healthy for you and your baby, it saves you money and has emotional benefits too.
Bria Phillips has her hands full with five kids.
"They are 7, 6, 4, 1 and 4 months," Phillips said.
She didn't breastfeed for her first three children.
"My parents and all that hadn't done it. My grandmother didn't do it," Phillips explained. "All of a sudden on the fourth I was like, 'I'm determined to do this.'"
That's exactly what Ashley Gallier with the WIC program wants to hear.
"A lot of moms recognize the benefits far outweigh any stigma breast feeding may have carried in the past," Gallier said.
Gallier is a peer breastfeeding counselor who gives women in Central Virginia support and advice for breastfeeding.
"The more support you get the more likely you are to attempt to breast feed," Gallier explained. "The more encouragement and resources you have, the more likely you are to continue."
Her help starts before the baby is born and continues in the hospital and at home. WIC even provides breast pumps for those who qualify, which is a big plus for working moms.
Now that Phillips is breastfeeding for the second time, she regrets not doing it with all of her kids.
"I absolutely wish I had done it before," Phillips said. "It's very rewarding to accomplish doing it and knowing that they are getting the nutrients that they should."
She's got a little advice for new moms considering it.
"I would say just stick with it because it's definitely rewarding to see your baby grow and know that you've done that," Phillips explained.
Centra is also moving toward baby-friendly hospital designation, giving all new moms better access to lactation consultants and counselors in the hospital to help them get started breastfeeding.
Learn more about what WIC has to offer.