Head Start staff have a unique opportunity to engage pregnant women and families in discussions around breastfeeding in a culturally responsive and respectful manner. Health and nutrition coordinators, program administrators, and staff receive several open-ended questions to begin conversations with breastfeeding families. Staff members are encouraged to connect women and families with community resources to provide breastfeeding support.
Currently, the Head Start Program Performance Standards require breastfeeding education for expectant families and accommodations for breastfeeding children. Breastfeeding provides a true head start for the children that Head Start programs serve. Research shows that breastfeeding has important long-term impacts on the health and development of children and the health and well-being of mothers. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and many other health organizations recommend that babies breastfeed exclusively for the first six months.