REEDS SPRING, Mo – The Reeds Spring Early Childhood Center Full Day Program has become a Missouri Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care facility. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) recognizes providers that proactively support the families they serve and their employees who choose to breastfeed their infants. RSEEC-FD provides time, space, and other benefits to encourage breastfeeding after a mom returns to work.
“We want our new mothers to know that we support their decision to continue breastfeeding,” said Teresa Waters, RSEEC-FD director. “We are extremely pleased to be designated as a Missouri Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care facility.”
According to DHSS, over 70 percent of Missouri mothers choose to breastfeed. Yet, many of these women do not meet their breastfeeding goals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified returning to work as a major reason why many women stop breastfeeding. Child care providers are key to helping moms continue breastfeeding after they return to work. The Stone County Health Department hopes the RSEEC-FD recognition will encourage more area businesses to support working mothers.
“Lactation support programs are a growing trend in businesses today as a means of improving family services to employees and clients,” said Susan Campbell, WIC/Breastfeeding Coordinator for the Stone County Health Department.
Many studies have shown improved short- and long-term health of the breastfeeding mother and her child. Breastfed infants tend to be sick less often and have a lower risk of allergies and other health issues. Breastfeeding reduces a moms’ risk for cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Businesses that support breastfeeding moms report higher employee retention, lower absenteeism, higher morale, greater productivity and reduced health care costs.
The Missouri Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care Program is a collaboration between the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and the Missouri Breastfeeding Coalition. The program aims to bring an increased awareness about the importance of lactation support in child care facilities. The program recognizes child care facilities with policies supportive of their breastfeeding employees and mothers of the children in their care. Such policies offer a private space where mothers can pump or breastfeed, trained staff and supportive resources to help encourage breastfeeding.
To become a Missouri Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care facility, providers must submit an application to the DHSS. Application materials and a list of recognized facilities can be found at http://health.mo.gov/breastfeedingfriendlychildcare.