Compton residents promote breastfeeding
The walk featured raucous endorsements for breastfeeding and took on a party-like atmosphere, but the message was serious and focused on the overall health of babies as they mature.
“We want everyone to understand the importance of breastfeeding,” Compton Site Supervisor Reyna Flores said. “WIC offers Compton residents an effective support system from trained counselors who appreciate the investment a new mom makes in their baby’s health because they made this choice.”
She said nutritional benefits from breastfeeding pay immediate dividends.
“Nursing provides immunities and antibodies which protect babies from illness,” she said. “Babies can digest breast milk easier, and it raises their IQ. We dedicate all our resources to our mothers because we want them to have the breastfeeding experience every mother dreams about.”
“That is one-on-one help for any mom,” she said. “They answer questions and provide support.”
Nutritional support for mothers is extremely urgent, Myers said, because they face challenging schedules.
“We offer food package items like tuna, whole wheat bread, fruits, vegetables and calcium,” she said.
South Los Angeles Health Project WIC Nutrition and Breastfeeding services Chief Debra Myers said breast milk is remarkably resilient, and a mother would have to starve herself to affect her breast milk.
“Breast milk does not depend on a perfect diet,” she said. “Mothers need energy, and proper nutrition makes a difference.”
Breastfeeding also provides financial relief for struggling families and can help prevent obesity.
“Formula costs plenty of money,” Myers said. “A breastfed child receives the proper amount of nutrition because the mother only produces what the baby needs.”
Baby Friendly USA promotes breast feeding, Myers said, and offers 10 policies that make a difference during everyday life.
“This keeps mother and baby together and only allows bottles and formula if there is a medical reason,” she said. “They were separated during the 1980s, and that was a recipe for failure.”
Many mothers missed out on breastfeeding their children two decades ago, she said, and advancements in the field make it a whole new science in 2012.
“Back then, many doctors had an insufficient breastfeeding background,” Flores said. “Today, moms visit specialists and get different information.”
When the mother decides to stop breastfeeding, Myers said, she should make it a gradual process.
“A complete stop takes away the baby’s comfort and security source,” she said. “There is a bond between mothers and breastfed children, and that must be considered during the process.”
Compton mom Chantas Spearman said breastfeeding makes a daily difference in her life .
“It makes a difference in my son’s life too,” she said. “He is very attached to me, and the bond between us is wonderful.”
Dads play a vital role in the breastfeeding experience.
“Babies will wean themselves naturally,” she said. “If cultural mandates did not exist, children would be breastfeed for many years.”
WIC also offers guidance for babies’ behavior.
“Normal baby behavior gets questioned,” Myers said. “Being a new mother is tough, but now there is statewide support so everyone moves forward in a healthy manner.”
For more information about breastfeeding support in Compton stop by the WIC offices at 130 E. Compton Blvd., or call 323-905-7805.