MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH – The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced it has recognized the first-ever breastfeeding-friendly child care provider in the state. The designation gives parents another stamp of quality that they can use when selecting a child care provider.
Kind Hearts Day Care, located in Princeton, received the designation after completing specific steps to make it breastfeeding friendly.
Among the nine steps, a breastfeeding-friendly family child care home must adopt a written policy about breastfeeding and inform staff about best practices; require staff to attend professional training; provide a lactation room; and follow proper storage and handling guidelines for breast milk.
“I think this is very important because breastfeeding mothers need to know we are here to support them and their child,” said Julie Hume, owner of Kind Hearts. “Breastfeeding is a natural part of life, and it is the best thing for the child. We encourage breastfeeding and give mothers a comfortable place to breastfeed.”
Across Minnesota in 2016, the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) provided training and follow-up assistance for nearly 250 child care providers. This included sharing best practices for breastfeeding support. More than 9,000 Minnesota children attended a child care that partners with SHIP.
Studies show that infants who are breastfed have better health outcomes as they grow, including lower rates of common childhood illnesses (such as ear infections) and, later in life, lower risk of obesity and disease, including certain types of cancer. Breastfeeding also has important health benefits for mothers, including a lower risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis.
MDH recognizes the importance of breastfeeding and has created programs that showcase breastfeeding-friendly practices in child care centers and homes, workplaces, maternity centers and health departments.