Michelle Rupp: Kayla Fuller joins us now. Kayla is the WIC coordinator with the Arkansas Department of Health. Kayla, thanks so much for joining us today.

Kayla Fuller: Thank you for having me, Michelle.

MR: So, we want to talk about breastfeeding, and we’ll just kind of jump right into it. What are some of the misconceptions where breastfeeding is concerned?

KF: There are several myths and misconceptions around breastfeeding like there are with many things in life. Some of the most common are around the ability to breastfeed. For example, moms often think they must eat a certain way to be able to breastfeed. While we do want moms to be their most healthy selves and enjoy a balanced diet, a mother doesn’t have to have her five fruits and vegetables a day to make good milk for her baby.

There’s also the misconception that if a mother is sick, then she can’t breastfeed. There are some medical conditions where a mother shouldn’t breastfeed, you know, for example, being HIV positive, they have untreated active tuberculosis, or she’s undergoing radiation therapy or chemotherapy. But having common sicknesses like colds and flu isn’t one of them. If mom has a virus, the baby has already been exposed by the time that she knows it. Her body is making antibodies to fight the sickness, and these antibodies are passed on to the baby, and mom’s breastmilk helps keep the baby well and hopefully recover more quickly.

MR: What about mothers who, after they’ve delivered, just want that first margarita or that first glass of wine? I know I’ve heard that any alcohol could be passed through the milk. Is that a misconception conception, or is that true?

KF: There are updated guidelines on alcohol use and breastfeeding. We know that if mom has, for example, just one glass and she is okay to take care of her baby, then she should be fine to breastfeed. A good rule of thumb is waiting a couple of hours if we’re breastfeeding. But if mom wants to have you a glass of wine with dinner, then she is totally fine. She doesn’t have to pump and dump for 24 hours or some things that we hear.

MR: Okay, that’s good—any other misconceptions.

KF: Another thing that we hear a lot of moms say is that they won’t be able to breastfeed because their breasts are too small. We know that breast size doesn’t determine the ability to make milk. All moms have different storage capacities in the breast because all our bodies are different, but regardless of the size of the breast, all moms make about the same amount of milk in 24 hours, which is about 26 and 27oz. Along these same lines, Michelle, I’ve heard moms say that they will not be able to breastfeed because their mom wasn’t able to breastfeed. It’s good to know that every mom is different, and grandmother’s ability to reach her breastfeeding goals doesn’t determine how mom’s breastfeeding experience will be. It could be that grandma just didn’t have the support she needed and deserved, and we can help make this mom’s story different.

MR: Kayla that is so great. Go ahead and talk about the support that is available for moms.

KF: In the hospital, we have lactation support for moms. Also, with WIC, we have a lot of support for breastfeeding families. During pregnancy, WIC staff provides breastfeeding education and anticipatory guidance so that moms know what to expect and they can make an informed choice for feeding their baby. We have registered dietitians, family consumer science specialists, nurses, and breastfeeding peer counselors who provide this education for moms during their pregnancy. After delivery, moms receive support from the same WIC staff to help correct their breastfeeding goals and address challenges and concerns, and we refer them as needed to the doctor. Peer counselors are available in many clinics across the state, and they’re available to moms outside the usual clinic hours and settings. Many times, that’s when problems happen. You know, it’s 10 o’clock at night whenever you can’t get baby to latch, or it’s on the weekend, and something goes wrong. So, peer counselors are available to moms outside the usual clinic hours, and then we also have the breastfeeding helpline number. It’s 800-445-6175. It is answered by Sandy Bankson, IBCLC, CLE, during clinic hours and then after clinic hours rolls over to the Baptist Help Line for nights and weekends. There’s always somebody available at that number 24/7 if a mom needs help.

MR: That is such great advice. The biggest takeaway is moms aren’t alone. You guys are here. There’s so much support available to moms. Kayla Fuller, thank you so much for talking with us today. We appreciate having you on the show.

KF: Thanks for having me, Michelle. It was a pleasure.