Since 2014, Dakota County Public Health has hosted eight Supporting Breastfeeding in Child Care Programs trainings. The trainings have reached more than 176 licensed family and center-based child care providers throughout the county.
After training, Dakota County staff coach providers on steps they can take to boost breastfeeding support best practices in their program. This can include creating lactation rooms, including breastfeeding support guidelines in parent handbooks and learning the appropriate ways to store, handle and feed of breast milk to infants.
Creating a supportive “Mother’s Lounge”
After a training from Dakota County Public Health, staff at the Pathways to Play Early Learning Center in South St. Paul created a comfortable, relaxing Mother’s Lounge to support moms and babies. A small, underutilized room was set up with a comfy chair, cozy rug, soothing music, dim lighting and inspiring pictures.
A mom from Pathways to Play commented, “The Mother’s Lounge has really benefited me as I transitioned back to work this fall. I work nearby, and am fortunate to be able to come to the center on my lunch break to nurse my baby. To spend time in a quiet space where it can be just the two of us is the highlight of my workday.”
The center added language to the parent handbook about supporting breastfeeding and follows best practices for handling, storage and feeding of breast milk. The center has also added breastfeeding-friendly children’s books to help educate older siblings about breastfeeding.
Supporting breastfeeding moms at Hastings child care centers
Two child care centers in Hastings — Robin’s Nest and Hastings Child Development Center — recently improved their support for breastfeeding. Staff received training on the benefits of breastfeeding, how to properly store and handle breast milk, and effective ways to support moms.
After the training, the centers:
- Included information about breastfeeding support in the new parent orientation
- Put more information about breastfeeding in parent handbooks
- Provided tips in newsletters
- Used a breastfeeding phone app
- Posted Breastfeeding Welcome Here signs
Robin Siebenaler, the director at one of the centers, said, “Staff now talk about breastfeeding as the assumed infant feeding method.” She also notes that teachers are more willing to work with families and provide encouragement to continue to breastfeed.