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Question & Answer - Breastfeeding



How can child care providers best support breastfeeding mothers? What can daycare providers expect when a client is breastfeeding and you are caring for their infant?

Carla Snuggs, MLIS

April 2013



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See Carla Snugg's original interview with Diane Bahr at Own A Daycare.

Reprinted with permission.

 

Providing child care for infants is a special and important task. It is important that early childhood educators and child care services are supportive of breastfeeding mothers and their babies and that they make it easy for mothers and babies to continue breastfeeding.

 

To help you provide the support that breastfeeding moms need from your daycare, Own A Daycare sought the help of Diane Bahr, Speech-Language Pathologist, Feeding Specialist, Certified Infant Massage Instructor, and Author of Nobody Ever Told Me (or My Mother) That! Everything from Bottles and Breathing to Healthy Speech Development

Here is our interview with Diane Bahr in which you will find important information to help support breast feeding moms in your daycare:
 

QUESTION FROM Own A Daycare:

How can child care providers best support breastfeeding mothers? What can daycare providers expect when a client is breastfeeding and you are caring for their infant?

 

ANSWER FROM Diane Bahr:

I am pleased that you ask these questions because moms really do not have enough support for breastfeeding. Many moms stop breastfeeding when their babies have subtle problems that could easily be fixed. I have seen many typically developing babies in my practice with these problems. Underdeveloped or missing sucking pads and tongue or lip tie are two examples of problems that can easily be remedied with appropriate help.

 

Child care providers are perfect for encouraging moms to seek the help they need. They see moms on a daily basis and can direct them to lactation consultants, feeding specialists (like myself), or the La Leche League (www.llli.org). They also receive the mother’s pumped breast milk (liquid gold) to bottle feed the baby (bottle feeding also covered in my book).

 

I would suggest that child care providers encourage moms to work with local (IBCLC) lactation consultants. These LCs (lactation consultants) are the best trained. See www.ilca.org. Here are some websites hosted by IBCLCs that might interest child care professionals:

In addition, these are some other websites with reliable information about breastfeeding:

Encouraging moms to purchase a good breast pump is also important, so the baby has adequate milk at daycare. Both Ameda.com and Hygeiainc.com are quality breast pump companies with good information on their sites (and are World Health Organization (www.who.int) compliant).

 

I would also recommend that child care providers have a good, accurate, and easy-to-use breastfeeding resource. I placed a lot of specific breastfeeding information in my book to help moms be successful with breastfeeding and problem solve if something goes wrong. Child care providers can use this information to discuss the benefits of breast feeding and support moms if something goes wrong.

Here is a summary of the breastfeeding benefits found on pages 29-31 of my book Nobody Ever Told Me (or My Mother) That! Everything from Bottles and Breathing to Healthy Speech Development. Breastfed children have:

  • Better face, head, and body development because alternating breasts stimulates and exercises both sides of the baby’s face, head, and body. 
  • Better overall mouth development because the breast is drawn deeply into the baby’s mouth (maintaining the palate’s shape) and the mouth moves in a more sophisticated manner than during bottle feeding. Face, jaw, dental arch, hard and soft palate, tooth, and speech development is better in breastfed children according to research.
  • Fewer sinus, ear, allergy, respiratory, and gastrointestinal (e.g., reflux) problems and are healthier children overall (with a lower incidence of SIDS).

Finally, consider having child care providers who successfully breast fed their own children work with the breastfeeding moms (if available). There is nothing like personal experience.