Infant Feeding

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, and continued breastfeeding for 1 year or longer. Breastfeeding not only provides developmental benefits for infants, but also encourages mother-infant bonding, reduces a child's risk for a variety of infections, reduces child's risk for chronic conditions later in life, and reduces mom's risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

Child care providers can support these recommendations by encouraging mothers to breastfeed at the facility and offer a private, comfortable place to breastfeed or pump. Additionally, centers can ensure there is sufficient refrigerator and freezer space to store expressed milk and understand safe storage/handling of breastmilk. Centers can also work to feed babies on demand and not on a schedule. Centers can also make strides in supporting breastfeeding by trying to normalize breastfeeding such as having posters around the facility or including breastfeeding in lesson plans.

bottle feeding
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Here are some resources for improving infant feeding practices in your child care center:
  • Alameda County Breastfeeding Coalition developed a training for child care providers about the benefits of breastfeeding. This one-hour training includes information and tips that are applicable to all child care programs and is free.
  • The Florida Department of Health in partnership with the Florida Breastfeeding Coalition developed a webinar (available in English and Spanish) to assist child care facilities with creating and maintaining an environment that promotes and normalizes breastfeeding.
  • Here is a 10-minute video from the Breastfeeding Coalition of Oregon and the Indiana Perinatal Network where you can learn more about how your child care program can support breastfeeding.
  • This PowerPoint presentation can help you learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding, behaviors of a breastfed baby, how to make bottle feeding easier for breastfed babies, the importance of your knowledge and encouragement, and simple steps to help families reach their goals.
  • features videos and infographics to familiarize yourself with responsive feeding.
  • This PowerPoint presentation can be used to train child care providers on the importance of breastfeeding and strategies to create a breastfeeding friendly program, to learn tips about storing breast milk safely on site, bottle feeding infants, and reading infants’ hunger cues.
  • Click here for the National Breastmilk Feeding Recommendations & Guidelines.
  • The Florida Breastfeeding Coalition has toolkits and other resources for breastfeeding-friendly child care center. Click here to visit the site.
  • Penn State Extension also has information on breastfeeding support such as toolkits and guides, videos and guides, printable resources, self-assessment tools, and resources for families.
  • Here are Ten Steps to a Breastfeeding-Friendly Child Care Center.
  • PennState Extension has guidelines for preparing and storing breastmilk in your home child care program.
  • Here is some information on infant hunger cues and infant feeding tips.
Below are some free items you might like for your program:
These are some resources for enacting policies to improve infant feeding practices in your child care center:
  • Click here for a sample child care center breastfeeding policy.

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