It's something that most people think should come naturally, but when it comes to breastfeeding, many women experience challenges. It's one reason the Women, Infant, Children, or WIC program is offering counselors who can help.

Breastfeeding peer counselors are mothers who have breastfed themselves successfully for at least a year, then received special training so they can help others. They work part-time but are on call 24-7. The idea, according to program lead Carrie Dupuy, is to offer each woman who receives WIC benefits the opportunity to have a peer counselor then provide the support they need to reach their breastfeeding goals.

Autumn Chang decided to sign up for a peer counselor shortly before she had her first child, Sydney, now nearly 2-months-old.

"It's all trial and error-- that's what I'm finding as a new mom," said Chang.

Chang said she wants to breastfeed her daughter for at least a year, but each month has brought new challenges. She's grateful she can call on her peer counselor, Emily Ingram, when she has questions or concerns-- even in the middle of the night.

"We are there mostly for support," said Ingram. "I would say the majority of the issues that the moms I speak to can be solved with just a little bit of support."

Peer counselors work for the WIC program, which is administered by the Municipal Health Department. The federal nutrition program encourages breastfeeding, according to assistant WIC clinic manager Lisa Cruz.

"We feel at the WIC office that breastfeeding is best for babies because it has so many nutrients and antibodies for babies that formula feeding just doesn't have," said Cruz.

But while WIC offers mothers all kinds of services, the peer counselors may be uniquely qualified to give women the help they need when they need it most.

"There are some nights where the baby's crying, it won't latch on. So, to have that number and have someone that you can call might be the only way that they'll continue on their breastfeeding journey," said Cruz.

Autumn Chang said she's grateful there is someone checking in on her. She said it means a lot to hear she's doing a good job.

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