By Spring Childcare · 08 Aug 2023
Breastfeeding Awareness Week 2023
At Spring by Action for Children, we are passionate about giving children the best possible start in life. Studies show that children who are breastfed have less health issues, stronger immune systems and those that are breastfed for longer showed increased cognitive skills.
We know that every family we serve is unique. Every breastfeeding journey looks different; some babies are breastfed for a short duration, for others it has not been possible at all and for some, feeding continues for a much longer duration. We fully understand parental choices and whatever feeding journey a family is on; we are committed to supporting them along the way. See our top tips below for how we work closely with families who are continuing their breastfeeding journey when their child attends one of our settings.
- Make your support clear from the start: talk to families from the very first show-round about how you support breastfeeding in your nursery. Don’t wait to be asked by parents how you can support them but share information about what adjustments you have in place. This might help parents to make the decision about whether your setting is right for them and their child.
- Ask the right questions: during show-rounds and visits, ask parents questions about their current arrangements for feeding their child. Some parents may assume they need to wean their child onto formula before they start. Make it clear that you can facilitate expressed breastmilk storage or provide feeding spaces for families in those initial discussions with parents. This will ensure they don’t feel pressured into making radical changes before their child starts nursery.
- Strong practices for breastmilk in a bottle storage and feeding: be confident in the legal requirements for storage of breastmilk and make sure you have the correct equipment in place to store milk safely. Provide training for your staff to make sure they care confident in how to safely store, prepare, and feed the milk to children. When you and your staff are confident in this process, it provides reassurance to parents too.
- Display your intentions: having visual aids up in your nursery will demonstrate to all parents and visitors that you take a proactive approach to supporting breastfeeding. You can download posters to display from some of the links below.
- Talk to staff and regularly review practices: including discussions about breastfeeding families and holding regular reviews of your practices can help to keep this fresh in your team’s minds, but also increase confidence in the team. Every family is unique, and it may be that you need to adapt your practice to meet the needs of each family and their circumstances.
- Provide a consistent space: where possible prioritise spaces for parents who are breastfeeding. This can be tricky in smaller setting, with little space. However, identifying spaces that are comfortable and private shows your commitment to supporting breastfeeding families.
- Environment matching your values: consider the nursery environment. Do you have visuals, such as posters and leaflets that show your support for breastfeeding? Consider how you share your ethos and support for breastfeeding families with other families accessing your service. Additionally, if you share with families that you support breastfeeding, make sure that you have facilities for the storage of milk along with quiet spaces for feeding and expressing.
- Signpost families to further support: sharing information and support groups will help parents who are breastfeeding to reach out for support where needed. You may consider putting leaflets on your parent partnership board or sharing information on local support agencies in your parent packs. Below there are some links to helpful organisations and resources to support families at every point of their feeding journey.
For more information and support see: