La Crosse is one of the latest communities that want to train child care facilities to become “breastfeeding friendly.”
Ten steps have been outlined as ways child care centers can become “breastfeeding friendly,” including creating a comfortable space for mothers to breastfeed and having staff educate mothers about breastfeeding resources.
Jenni Loging of the La Crosse County Health Department said they've just begun working with local child care providers on this statewide initiative. Loging said overall, day care providers are doing a good job, but there’s room for improvement. For example, she said, the program could teach day care staff how to properly use pumped breast milk.
“Most babies are formula-fed, unfortunately,” said Loging. “We want to change that to having most babies be breast milk-fed, and that that becomes the norm versus formula.”
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Studies show that breastfeeding can reduce childhood obesity and exposure to other diseases.
Wisconsin Department of Health Services Nutrition Coordinator Kelli Stader said that creating “breastfeeding-friendly” policies shows moms that they don’t necessarily have to switch to formula at a daycare.
“If you actually have it in your policy, that shows new families who are coming to you that you’re serious about this,” said Stader. “If it’s in policy, it’s more likely to be sustained if there’s turnover with staff or leadership.”
The Wood County Breastfeeding Coalition has developed an online training program for child care providers to become “breastfeeding-friendly.”