Guide to Online Breastfeeding Resources

Mother breastfeeding baby

 

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.

But low–income families, like those served in Head Start programs, are among the least likely to begin breastfeeding their children. They are also more likely to stop breastfeeding before the six months recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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You can make a difference, and this guide can help! The current Head Start Program Performance Standard around breastfeeding education is specifically for those programs that enroll pregnant women, infants and toddlers. However, all Head Start programs have opportunities to share information and support around breastfeeding with families. Through the strong relationships you build with families, you can:

  • talk with families about breastfeeding;
  • offer accurate information to help families make informed choices;
  • provide a program environment that welcomes breastfeeding; and
  • support families in the feeding decisions that make the most sense for them.

There are many resources available to help you promote and support breastfeeding. This guide can help you find resources specific to your needs. Remember that families who are making the decision to breastfeed or are breastfeeding their babies need individualized information and support. Before visiting with them:

  • talk with your community partners to identify local breastfeeding resources and services;
  • look through the resources below;
  • provide a program environment that welcomes breastfeeding; and
  • develop a resource book that you can use to provide breastfeeding education and support to families around the concerns they identify. (Please note: the listed websites provide handouts and materials you may use in your programs or with families at the moment they have concerns. Materials published by government organizations are in the public domain and can be copied and given to families.)

Remember that, while written information can be useful, it is most effective to discuss information with families. Ask them what they find useful about these resources, and where they disagree or have questions. Use these resources as conversation starters with families.

Some parents have not seen or experienced breastfeeding in their communities. Breastfeeding rates in the United States are lowest among African American and Native American women. It is important that the breastfeeding materials that you use reflect the families in your program whenever possible. This guide provides a number of publications that are designed and targeted for families of particular groups. Including:

A Multicultural Perspective on Breastfeeding: The Changing Culture of Breastfeeding (Part II)

For African American Families: Your Guide to Breastfeeding for African American Women

For American Indian and Alaska Native Families (AIAN): Indian Health Services Head Start Program – Breastfeeding

For American Indian and Alaska Native Women: An Easy Guide to Breastfeeding for American Indian and Alaska Native Women

For Chinese Families: An Easy Guide to Breastfeeding (In Chinese)

For Hispanic Families: Una guía fácil para la lactancia

Explore the topic areas below for more information and 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

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Planning for Birth

Supporting Families After the Birth

Supporting Families After the Birth

Last Reviewed: February 2013

Last Updated: January 28, 2015