Our position on breastfeeding in ECE
Our position is that it should be a legal requirement for all ECE services to have a policy on infant feeding that sees services implementing practices that support mums to breastfeed and infants to continue to receive breast-milk.
This is currently not the case as enrolling in ECE can cause infants and young children to be placed on cow's milk or milk formula.
At all ECE services there should be:
- An openness and willingness among staff and managers to learn more about the necessary requirements for supporting breastfeeding in the ECE setting, including correct techniques for storing, handling and feeding expressed breast milk and appropriate complementary feeding.
- A written breastfeeding policy outlining support for breastfeeding and breastmilk expression.
- An awareness among service managers and staff of their educative role as early childhood education and development specialists. Where appropriate, advising parents about optimal infant nutrition, including ways to continue breastfeeding.
- Information provided for parents on accessing health professionals and breastfeeding specialists.
- An emphasis on communication between families and staff. This includes written and verbal communication about the ECE service's policies and provisions for breastfeeding, including for storing and preparing expressed breastmilk as well as the parents’ expectations regarding infant feeding, including breastfeeding schedules.
- An understanding of family requests for infant feeding and identifying ways in which staff can support and encourage the breastfeeding relationship.
- Provision of reassurance to mothers experiencing difficulties with breastfeeding, and supporting mums with the time they need.
- A physical and attitudinal environment conducive to parents wanting to stay in the ECE setting and feeling comfortable about breastfeeding and seeing mums breastfeeding.
"When I first started coming here, there were often two or three of us sitting in there breastfeeding away, getting each other glasses of water. It was very easy".
"They have got the parents’ room upstairs and that makes it easy to go up there and feed him and have some quiet time."
9. A non-judgemental and supportive attitude towards families that make or have already made the decision not to breastfeed or to continue breastfeeding, including knowledge and awareness of correct methods of preparing breastmilk substitutes.
Go to the parent section on our website for more on breastfeeding support.