Breastfeeding Support

Breastfeeding your baby offers a long list of health benefits to both mom and baby.


Breastfeeding your baby offers a long list of proven benefits to both mom and baby.

Pumping Breast milk

Pumping when you are away from your baby can be stressful for a new mom or any mom for that matter.

Storing Breast milk

 It easiest to store your milk in the amount your baby will drink. 

Is my baby eating enough?

Did you know it’s normal for your baby to lose weight the first few days after birth? It is!

Can I breastfeed if…

It’s very common to have questions about being ill or taking medications while breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding your baby offers a long list of proven benefits to both mom and baby. It is the healthier and more cost-effective choice for both, and provides a bonding experience between mom and baby like nothing else can!

Top Five Breastfeeding Benefits for Mom

  • Easier to reach pre-pregnancy weight
  • Healthy baby = less sick days from work
  • No bottles to sterilize or formula to mix
  • Less stress and chance of postpartum depression
  • Decreased risk for osteoporosis and many types of cancer

Top Five Breastfeeding Benefits for Baby

  • Increased intelligence
  • Reduced chance of developing obesity
  • Less likely to develop allergies & asthma
  • Decreased risk of crib death
  • Prevention of infections throughout life

Breastfeeding Helpline (559) 263-1162

(M-F 8:30 am-7 pm)

Email our IBCLCs at

Text - send fresnoeocwic to 45778

Pumping Breastmilk

Pumping when you are away from your baby whether it is for school, work or a hospitalized baby can be stressful for a new mom or any mom for that matter. It adds one more “thing” to an already busy schedule.

Being consistent is key! Pumping every 2-3 hours (or how often your baby would normally eat) when you are away from your baby will help keep your milk supply steady.

If your baby is in the hospital – remember – 8 or more in 24 – that’s a minimum of 8 times in 24 hours. You may be thinking this seems like a lot and you’re right!

So, how can you get the most out of your time if you do have to pump? Using your hands along with the pump is key. Just depending on the suction of the pump alone will not give you the amount of breast milk you could possibly get if you also used your hands.

Video: Hands-on pumping from Dr. Jane Morton at Stanford

Helpful Steps:

Before you pump, wash your hands with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol. Make sure the area where you are pumping and your pump parts and bottles are clean. Breasts and nipples do not need to be washed before pumping.

If you need help to get your milk to start flowing without your baby there, you can:

  • Think about the things you love about your baby.
  • Bring a photo or a blanket or item of clothing that has your baby’s scent on it.
  • Apply a warm, moist cloth to your breasts.
  • Gently massage your breasts.
  • Gently rub your nipples.
  • Visualize the milk flowing down.
  • Sit quietly and think of a relaxing setting.

Fresno EOC WIC offers breast pump loans. Talk to your WIC Nutrition Assistant or BF Peer Counselor at your next appointment. You can also call our Breastfeeding help-line at (559) 263-1162 (M-F 8:30 am-7 pm).

Breastfeeding Helpline (559) 263-1162

(M-F 8:30 am-7 pm)

Email our IBCLCs at

Text - send fresnoeocwic to 45778

TypeHow it worksWhat's involvedAverage cost
Hand expressionYou use your hand to squeeze and press on your breast to remove milk.
  • Requires practice, skill, and coordination.
  • Gets easier with practice and can be as fast as pumping.
  • Good if you are not often away from your baby or you need an option that is always with you. But all moms should learn how to hand express in case of emergency.

Manual pump You use your hand and wrist to operate a hand-held device to pump the milk.
  • Requires practice, skill, and coordination.
  • Useful for occasional pumping if you are away from your baby only once in a while.
  • May put you at higher risk of breast infection
$30 to $50*
Electric breast pumpRuns on battery or plugs into an electrical outlet.
  • Can be easier for some moms.
  • Can pump one breast at a time or both breasts at the same time.
  • Double pumping (pumping both breasts at the same time) may collect more milk in less time, which is helpful if you are going back to work or school full-time.
  • Need a place to clean and store the equipment between uses.
  • Electric pumps require batteries or a place to plugin.

  • *You may be eligible for a pump through WIC. Contact your local WIC office to see if you are eligible.
$150 to over $250*

Storing Breastmilk

There may be times when you need to pump and store your breastmilk for later use whether it’s for school, work or an evening out. It easiest to store your milk in the amount your baby will drink. If you aren’t sure, you can do a few 2 ounces and a few 1 ounces that way there is nothing going to waste.

Breastmilk can be stored:

  • At room temperature for up to 4 hours.
  • In the refrigerator for 3 days. No need to freeze if you will be using your milk during this time. Put the date on the bottle or milk storage bag. Your milk is best if not placed in the refrigerator door. Your milk will separate. The fat will be at the top of the bottle/bag. This is normal. It’s OK to feed this to your baby. Before feeding your baby, just gently stir or swirl your milk so the fat mixes back in.
  • In the freezer –6 months. Wow! If you need to freeze your breastmilk you can use storage bags or glass bottles. Leave space at the top, about 1 inch, as the milk will expand once frozen. You can date and write the number of ounces on the container. Store your milk near the back of the freezer, never in the door.

Whether refrigerated or frozen always use the oldest milk first.

Safe Storage

LocationFresh Breast MilkThawed Breast MilkTemperature
Countertop3-4 hours1-2 hours Room temperature must not be higher than 85°F or 29°C. Containers should be covered and kept as cool as possible.
Insulated cooler bag24 hoursFor transport only Keep ice packs in contact with milk containers and limit opening the cooler bag.
Refrigerator3 days24 hoursAt or below 39°F or 4°C
Freezer section inside of a refrigerator2 weeksDo not refreezeAt or below 5°F or minus 15°C
Freezer with separate door or deep freezer6 months24 hoursBelow 0°F or minus 18°C

Is my baby eating enough?

Did you know it’s normal for your baby to lose weight the first few days after birth? It is! Babies may be born with extra fluid on board (especially if mom had IV fluids during labor) and full of meconium (the thick, black, tarry first few poops). When these pass through, the baby does lose some weight; so, some weight loss is normal.

When should we be concerned? If a baby has lost 7% of his/her birth weight we need to take a look at the feeding. Is baby latched on correctly? Is baby breastfeeding effectively and able to transfer/move breastmilk from mom’s breast to baby’s tummy?  Is baby sleeping at the breast and not sucking? Call your WIC office if you need more help. 10% is a red flag and too much weight to lose – seek help from WIC’s lactation consultants at this point. You may need to supplement with formula and/or pump. We are here to help you through this! 

Your baby should be back to his/her birth weight by 10 days to 2 weeks old. Once your baby is back to his/her birth weight expect an average weight gain for an exclusive breastfeed baby to be about 8 oz/week the first 2-3 months.

Any Fresno EOC WIC participant can come in during our normal business hours with their WIC Card to weigh their baby. 

Use this chart as a guide, but talk to your child’s doctor if you are concerned about your child not getting enough milk.

Typical number of wet diapers and bowel movements in a baby’s first week (it is fine if your baby has more): 1 day = 24 hours*

Baby's ageNumber of wet diapersNumber of bowel movementsTexture and color of bowel movements
Day 1 (first 24 hours after birth)1-2The first bowel movement usually occurs within 8 hours after birthThick, tarry, and black
Day 223Thick, tarry, and black
Day 35-6 disposable,
6-8 cloth
3Looser and greenish to yellow (color may vary)
Day 463Soft, watery, and yellow
Day 563Loose, seedy, and yellow
Day 663Loose, seedy, and yellow
Day 763Larger amounts of loose, seedy, and yellow

Can I breastfeed if…

It’s very common to have questions about being ill or taking medications while breastfeeding.

I take prescription and/or over-the-counter medication:

woman taking pills preganantSome medications are ok to take while breastfeeding but it’s best to ask your doctor/pharmacist before you start, you can also call us at (559) 263-1150. Some over-the-counter medications can be just as dangerous as prescriptions. At Fresno EOC WIC we use the drug reference: “Medications and Mother’s Milk,” written by clinical pharmacologist, Dr. Thomas Hale and colleague Dr. Hilary Rowe. We can look up any prescription or over-the-counter medication and let you know what the book says – if a medication is safe or not. It’s always best to ask first before you decide to not or stop breastfeeding. This is not a substitution for medical advice, if you feel concerned, please call your doctor or pharmacist.

I’m sick with the flu:
breastmilk differences sick vs normal

The bag on the left contains breastmilk (more yellow) that mom pumped while her other children were sick with the flu. The bag on the right with the white breastmilk is from a normal pumping session when all were healthy.

The common misconception by most mothers is that they cannot breastfeed when they are sick. It is a very logical concern to have but believe it or not, most illnesses do not require mothers to stop breastfeeding! Whether it’s the common cold, flu, fever, or stomach flu, mothers can nurse without worrying that they’ll make their child sick. A mother’s breast milk doesn’t transmit illness to their child but it does give babies antibodies that can help them fight infection. Maintaining your nursing routine while you’re ill is the best and most efficient way to help your baby stay healthy, while at the same time maintain your milk supply.

If you need to take any medications during breastfeeding, make sure to call your WIC office. Some medications can cause your milk supply to decrease. If you are feeling under the weather, drink a lot of fluids, rest up and keep breastfeeding!

I don’t eat healthy:

Yes. You do want to eat as healthy as you can, but if your diet is not perfect your breastmilk will be. Your body’s nutrients may be tapped into but your milk will always be perfect for your baby; so, even if you don’t always eat healthy, still breastfeed!

I smoke cigarettes:

Depends: If you smoke less than a pack a day – yes you can breastfeed. The benefits of your breastmilk for your baby still far outweigh the amount of nicotine in your breastmilk. Your breastmilk is still better than any formula. If you smoke you can: 1) take steps to quit – Call 1-800-No-Butts, 2) Don’t smoke the whole cigarette – make one last for 2-3 times. 3) Don’t let the smoke near your baby: Smoke outside, away from your baby, and only after you breastfeed. 4) The smoke sticks to your clothes and skin so wash your hands and change your clothes before being around your baby again.

I drink alcohol:

Depends: If you are having 1 drink, with food, on a special occasion, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) it is o.k. Moms who drink regularly/daily should not breastfeed. When you drink, the amount of alcohol in your breastmilk is the same that is in your blood. So what does that mean? If you are feeling the effects of the alcohol-don’t breastfeed. With 1 drink – it should take 2-3 hours for the alcohol to clear your system. Don’t breastfeed for 2-3 hours. You can pump & dump during this time if needed. You can give your baby breastmilk you pumped at an earlier time if your baby gets hungry. No need to wait hours or days to breastfeed after 1 drink.

I smoke marijuana:

 No. Effects on baby of marijuana use by a breastfeeding mom include slow weight gain and slow development in the baby’s brain. Long-term effects are not known. Moms who use any potentially harmful substances should not breastfeed. Here is information from the California Department of Public Health on marijuana and the effects during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding Helpline (559) 263-1162

(M-F 8:30 am-7 pm)

Email our IBCLCs at

Text - send fresnoeocwic to 45778