Mother's Milk: Welcoming and Supporting Breastfeeding in Your Program

This audiocast features discussions around how to effectively share information on breastfeeding with families and how to develop a breastfeeding-friendly Early Head Start program. This information may be useful to program administrators, staff, and health and nutrition coordinators.

The Comprehensive Benefits of Breastfeeding

There are many benefits to breastfeeding. Even if you are able to do it for only a short time, your baby's immune system can benefit from breast milk. This information explains the added benefits of breastfeeding for yourself, your baby, and how it influences society.

How Lifestyle Affects Breast Milk – Medications

A woman’s lifestyle may affect her breast milk, and impact the baby’ health. Mothers should talk to their doctor before taking medications because small amounts can pass through the breast milk. Mothers can use this information to educate themselves about the consequences of taking medications and about seeking a doctor’s advice to make sure the medications are safe.

Federal Resources on Breastfeeding

The federal resources below provide current information on a variety of topics related to breastfeeding. Early Head Start and Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs can share data and tips with expectant families and families with breastfeeding children. It also may be useful to program administrators, staff, and health and nutrition coordinators.

How Lifestyle Affects Breast Milk: Smoking, Drugs, and Alcohol

A woman’s lifestyle may affect her breast milk, and have an impact on the baby. During breastfeeding, it is important for a woman not to consume alcohol, smoke, or take drugs.  These substances are known to pass through the breast milk. This information can help mothers to understand better about the consequences of smoking, using drugs, and drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers

While making milk is natural, breastfeeding is a skill that mothers and babies learn. It is helpful for parents to know that it is not always easy, but that help is available. Mothers often benefit from knowing techniques and strategies such as how to position the baby, signs of a good latch, infant feeding patterns, etc. As women learn to breastfeed their babies, they often have many questions and concerns. They need individualized support.

Promoting Breastfeeding and Addressing Challenges

In working with expectant families, Early Head Start staff have a great opportunity to share information and support. There are also simple things that staff working with older children can do when working with families getting ready for another baby. Start talking with families about breastfeeding as early as possible. Breastfeeding decisions are often made early in pregnancy. The questions in this document can help open the discussion about breastfeeding.