When I found out I was pregnant, I knew finding a quality child care provider was very important to me. My husband and I had already talked about what we were looking for in the environment and care our son would receive. As we took classes preparing for his arrival, one of the topics that I felt really unsure of was breastfeeding. I knew I wanted to and I knew I wanted him to be able to continue to breastfeed and bottle-feed with my breast milk once I went back to work. But how would that partnership work?

My son is now 4 months old. I remember when we interviewed with our current provider and she asked, “Do you plan to breastfeed?” My response was, “I plan on trying to as long as possible, and pumping once I return to work for bottles while in care.”

What she said next made me completely relax.

She said, “That’s so great! If you ever have a break in your workday and want to come nurse him, you are more than welcome to. I will set up a quiet area for you to have that special time.” I knew that with my work schedule and location that wouldn’t really ever be an option for me. However, the way she talked in such a supportive manner to continue to offer that experience for my child and I, it meant the world to me. I know several moms that were able to make this work in their schedule and were thankful the programs their children attended supported it.

Center and home programs can look very different in their layout and space available to be able to accommodate an area for nursing mothers. Here are some ideas on how you could adapt a child care environment to create that private space:

  • Have a comfortable chair (potentially a rocking chair) with arms for support. A boppy pillow with a washable cover would give extra support for breastfeeding as well.
  • Have a small table and a lamp with soft lighting, relaxing music available through a boom box/blue tooth speaker to create a calming environment.
  • Offer a small basket of soft toys to manipulate, books that can be read by mom to her child.
  • Use a privacy screen to set up a private space in a larger room if a designated space is not available.

Creating a nursing environment available for new moms is a very marketable practice for any child care business! It also helps promote the importance of parent partnership from the start. If you would like support in how you can set up a supportive breastfeeding environment in your child care program, feel free to reach out to the CCR&R Child Care Consultant in your area - we would love to brainstorm with you!

For information around handling breast milk a parent is supplying for bottle-feeding throughout the day, you can access best practices in Caring For Our Children. This information can help you develop a policy in your handbook that outlines procedures for handling breastmilk. Having a policy gives parents a feeling of confidence in the practices of your program and be something you refer to when questions arise in conversation.


Tags: breastfeeding , nursing mother , breast milk

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