Promoting Breastfeeding and Addressing Challenges

Pregnant Woman

In work 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.


It makes sense to share the benefits of breastfeeding – and the risks of not breastfeeding – with families. Refer to Breastfeeding for a Head Start for those materials. While the research around breastfeeding is compelling, the number one reason that families choose to breastfeed is that they believe breastfeeding will help them bond with their children.

While some families will be quick to decide to breastfeed, others face real challenges in making that decision. Research has found that the three most common barriers to breastfeeding cited by families are:

  1. Busy schedules (including returning to work)
  2. Embarrassment
  3. Lack of support from family, friends, and community

The following resources offer information specific to these challenges and others.

General Discussion of Barriers:


1. Busy Schedules


2. Embarrassment


3. Lack of Support from Family, Friends, and Community


It is important that staff learn the challenges facing each family. Problem–solving with families about how they might address each of the challenges they identify is an important part of providing support. The best strategies for families come out of discussions about their unique situations and the supports available to them. Those supports include encouraging friends or family, program materials or activities, or community resources.

Guide to Online Breastfeeding Resources

 

Breastfeeding for a Head Start

Breastfeeding for a Head Start

The Important Role of Staff in Breastfeeding Education and Support

The Important Role of Staff in Breastfeeding Education and Support

Creating a Breastfeeding Welcoming Program

Creating a Breastfeeding Welcoming Program

Promoting Breastfeeding and Addressing Challenges

Promoting Breastfeeding and Addressing Challenges

Involving the Whole Family

Involving the Whole Family

Title

Planning for Birth

Supporting Families After the Birth

Supporting Families After the Birth

Last Reviewed: August 2014

Last Updated: January 28, 2015