Helping children get off to a good, healthy start in life is one of the hallmarks of quality child care. It makes sense that quality child care programs would have policies in place that support good infant feeding practices, including breastfeeding.
There are many reasons that child care should support breastfeeding families:
- Opportunities for family engagement when mothers feed children on-site
- Health benefits of breastmilk to children
- CACFP-participating programs can claim reimbursement when a mother breastfeeds on site (“free” money!)
- Social-emotional benefits of breastfeeding for children and breastfeeding mothers
The child care system has the opportunity to support these practices through policies at different levels. Advocates and stakeholders may be interested in developing policies that support breastfeeding and may want to know what options might work for their program, locality, or state.
ChangeLab Solutions and Child Care Aware® of America have developed a reference chart that describes the various types of policies used to support breastfeeding and examples of existing breastfeeding policies. In a perfect world, breastfeeding supportive policies would be woven into all of the policy areas. Policy analysts, advocates, and child care administrators can use the chart to identify areas where they already have policies that support breastfeeding or to identify policy areas where breastfeeding support policies are need.