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.

Families Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers

The decision to breastfeed is a family decision. Fathers, grandparents, and extended family often provide crucial support to young children and breastfeeding mothers. Different families involve different family members in a baby's care. Talk with families about who will provide support after the baby is born. Remember that all members of the family need information and an opportunity to share their experiences and feelings about breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding Resources

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.

Enterovirus

Learn the facts about Enterovirus, how to prevent it and what to do if someone in your program has it.

Pro-Children’s Act of 2001

The Pro-Children’s Act of 2001 imposes restrictions on smoking in facilities where federally-funded children’s services are provided. Grantees that are subject to these requirements will find this information useful.

Smoking Podcasts

Watch this series of three podcasts which focuses on the importance of having a smoke-free home and car for children and their families. It's one of the best things parents can do to help their children get and stay health.

Communication Training for Head Start Transportation Staff

Head Start programs that provide transportation services should consider communication skills training to increase the efficiency of their transportation staff. Program directors and transportation supervisors may use this resource to identify training issues that impact the quality of transportation services.