How can my center help to promote breastfeeding of the infants in our care?
Breastfeeding is one of the most important things a mother can do for their newborn. Breastfeeding provides many benefits to both mother and baby. Benefits to mother include losing pregnancy weight faster, decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancer, bonding time with baby, and monetary savings (as parents will not have to buy formula!). Benefits for baby include building baby’s immune system, decreasing risk of allergies, teaching baby to self-regulate and learn hunger cues from a very early age.
As a child care center it is important that you provide parents with this information. When parents arrive to your facility, especially those with a newborn or an expecting mother, provide them with information regarding the benefits of breastfeeding, frequent breastfeeding concerns, or breastfeeding support groups. Visit http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/ or http://www.lalecheleague.org/nb.html for more information.
Also, inform parents of the system your center has in place to assist them with their breastfeeding needs. Your center will play a vital role in encouraging mothers to continue breastfeeding while baby is in your care. Make sure your facility can provide the following:
- Culturally appropriate breastfeeding support materials
- Proper handling and storage of breast milk
- Private breastfeeding rooms for lactating mother’s to pump or feed baby
Finally, be available for support. Breastfeeding is not an easy endeavor, and we need to fully support mothers who are committed to providing the best nutrition to their infants. Be accommodating of mothers needs and requests and continue encouraging them throughout the breastfeeding process!