Think Big, Start Small: Breastfeeding Benefits

In our continuing series on small changes you can make to help your kids grow up healthy and happy, Kansas Action for Children shares more with us on the key changes parents and educators can make related to food, drinks and activity that can have a big impact on the health of Kansas kids.

THINK BIG. Start Small.

Small Changes, Big Impact

To help maximize the impact of a few changes, we’ve identified four top priorities based on research and collaboration with Kansas experts:

  1. Better Beverages
  2. Unplug Under 2
  3. Breastfeeding Benefits and
  4. Right Rewards

These are simple changes that are designed to work for families and child care programs – from small family day care homes to big child care centers.

Breastfeeding Benefits

Breastmilk is the ideal food for infants. Child care providers and early educators have a valuable opportunity to support and promote breastfeeding.  Parents of breastfed children need information and support to continue breastfeeding when children are in a child care program. In addition to supporting parents, it’s also important to support fellow providers who choose to continue breastfeeding while working.

Breastfeeding has benefits for child care providers as well as children and their families.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for first six months of life for optimal nutrition.   Breastmilk lower infants’ risk for infections, colds, asthma, allergies, SIDS, chronic health problems, as well as diabetes and obesity.  In addition to keeping babies healthy, breastfed babies are happier! Breastmilk is easier to digest than formula, and this makes babies less fussy.

Continuing breastfeeding when babies are in child care is a big commitment for mothers – it takes time and patience to both express adequate milk to send to child care and to continue nursing when with their children.  Providers and educators play an important role in helping mothers succeed who choose to breastfeed succeed.  Work with breastfeeding mothers to establish a feeding routine that supports their feeding/expressing routine at home.

Breastfeeding Benefits: Breastmilk reduces infants' risk of infection and disease. Provides ideal nutrition for babies and reduces risk for obesity later in life. Moms who breastfeed have lower risk of health problems, like diabetes.

Small changes to support Breastfeeding:

  • Tell new families at your daycare that their children may continue with breastmilk when in your program
  • Offer a comfortable space for moms to breastfeed in your facility

Do you have a success story to share about making breastfeeding and child care work?  Tell us in the comments!

Natalie is a Kids Librarian with a background in teaching. She delights in spreading bookjoy to people of all ages. She also takes interest in cycling, creating art, social justice, raising small livestock, and making music.