Are you committed to engaging in best practices in child nutrition? Early childhood programs serving infants and young children can apply to become a Breastfeeding Friendly Early Care program. Virginia partners recognize the benefits of breastfeeding and providing human milk to infants and young children for as long as a family desires. Since nearly 2/3 of Virginia’s young children have all available parents working, we know that early care settings are crucial supporters of breastfeeding. We are excited to award a Breastfeeding Friendly Early Care Recognition to child care programs that demonstrate best practices in infant nutrition.
Benefits of this recognition:
- Demonstrate your program’s commitment to best practices in infant nutrition
- Support families’ commitment to breastfeeding and their child’s healthy start
- Educate teachers and families about the importance of breastfeeding for infants and young children
- Market your program as breastfeeding friendly to families
Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care Standards:
- Environment Standard: A breastfeeding friendly child care program provides an inclusive environment which communicates that breastfeeding is welcome and will be supported in this program. The program has a culturally-responsive, breastfeeding-friendly environment.
- Family Support Standard: Families are better able to continue to breastfeed when they are supported with information and resources about breastfeeding. The program provides resources and/or information about breastfeeding to new mothers and family members.
- Infant Feeding Standard: Breastfeeding is supported when infants are fed on-demand, and when the program communicates with mothers/families about infant feeding preferences. The program is committed to infant feeding best practices.
- Professional Development Standard: Breastfeeding is supported when program staff are trained and knowledgeable about the benefits of breastfeeding, responsive feeding practices, how to promote breastfeeding, and how to store and handle breast milk. The program ensures that staff who care for children ages 0-3 and at least one director/administrator are trained in supporting and promoting breastfeeding.
- Breastfeeding Policy Standard: Breastfeeding is supported when a program has a written policy that reflects support for breastfeeding mothers and families, that is shared with staff and families.