Guest Blog Post by Kris Nicholson, Child Care Aware of Kansas and Brenda Bandy, Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition
Being prepared for an emergency is top priority for many including those in the child care field. The Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition Child Care Section recently discovered a gap in information for what to do when a breastfeeding infant is in a child care program when an emergency occurs.
While preparing an overview document, Breastfeeding Support in the Child Care Setting, a child care center director suggested information should be included on how to care for the breastfed infant during an emergency. The search for information began. Turns out there wasn’t any guidance on this topic.
Information about supporting the breastfeeding infant during emergencies assumed the infant was with the parent at the time of the emergency. Information about infants in child care during an emergency assumed the infant would be fed infant formula. Recommendations had simply not kept up with the times. Currently, over 80% of families in the United States choose to breastfeed and over 75% of infants are still being breastfed at 6 weeks of age which is when most enter child care.
Through a collaborative partnership process, the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition Child Care Section created “Guidelines to Support the Breastfeeding Infant During Emergencies While in Child Care”. A checklist was created for child care providers to think through what is needed for the breastfed infant if the emergency occurs while they are in the facility or outside the facility. Creative methods of thawing and warming the milk need to be considered in advance. Breast milk storage and handling guidelines are also an important part of the planning process.
The following were involved in the creation of this document:
- Child Care Aware of Kansas
- Kansas Child Care Training Opportunities
- Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition
- Kansas Division of Emergency Management
- Kansas Department of Health and Environment
- Christ the King Early Education Center