Early childhood education and care services have an important role in supporting families to continue to breastfeed, as returning to work is a common reason given for stopping breastfeeding. The Encouraging & Supporting Breastfeeding in Childcare Resource Kit contains practical tips and ideas on how to support breastfeeding at your service.
In Australia, exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for babies up to six months. Continued breastfeeding is recommended for at least 12 months and longer if the mother and baby wish.
‘Exclusive breastfeeding’ means that nothing else (except medicine or prescribed vitamin drops) is given to the infant – they receive breastmilk only.
At around six months, solid food can then be offered while breastfeeding is continued until 12 months, or longer if mother and baby with.
Is Your Service Breastfeeding Friendly?
Returning to work is common reason for stopping breastfeeding, or for deciding not to start breastfeeding. Services can inform mothers that the provision of breastmilk can be supported by their Service.
- develop policies that encourage and support continued breastfeeding.
- identify your Service as ‘breastfeeding friendly’.
- ask about breastfeeding at the time of enrolment. Inform mothers that the Service is supportive of receiving expressed breastmilk or alternatively, for mothers that work nearby, visits during the day for breastfeeds are encouraged.
- provide a welcoming environment for mothers to comfortably breastfeed or express breastmilk.
- assure mothers that expressed breastmilk will be stored and handled safely at the Service.
- play an important role in providing families with accurate nutrition and feeding information, and that this is reflected in the feeding practices of the Service.
For further information
For further information on supporting breastfeeding at your Service, download the Encouraging & Supporting Breastfeeding in Childcare Resource Kit or contact the Munch & Move® program at Southern NSW Local Health District. You can also join our Munch & Move® mailing list to receive information about other programs, tips and ideas to support your Service.