In January of 2017, New York State set aside as much as 7.2 million dollars in the form of a grant called, Creating Breastfeeding Friendly Communities (CBFC), to help create and promote communities which support breastfeeding mothers in the Capital District of Albany. The goal of the grant is to encourage women in low-income communities to begin breastfeeding when their child is born and continue to breastfeed exclusively for as long as mutually desired by the mother and the infant.
A baby who is not breastfed has a higher chance of developing conditions like asthma, obesity, diabetes, ear infections, and food allergies in later life. This is because only breast milk contains proteins that promote brain development, and antibodies that prevent illness and disease. Babies who are sick less often help parents avoid having to leave work to pick up or take care of a sick baby.
Additionally, breast milk is free, always available, and sanitary. Mothers who breastfeed also receive more assistance from the WIC program and have fewer cases of post-partum depression than non-breastfeeding mothers.
For these and many other reasons, CEO is helping the community take a stand to encourage and support mothers who choose to breast-feed their babies.
In 2017, CEO was the first program to participate in the CBFC grant which had been awarded through the Capital District Child Care Council in January. All CEO infant early childhood staff received training on how to promote and support breastfeeding within their communities as well as in-classroom demonstrations of how to introduce the concept of breastfeeding to preschool aged children in four specific classrooms.
In total, four of CEO’s child care programs received materials to furnish a lactation space within their infant rooms for parents to use to breastfeed or pump during business hours. These programs include; the Community Resource Center, Troy Family Resource Center, Lansingburgh Family Resource Center and the Rensselaer Family Resource Center. All four programs received nearly $2,700 dollars of grant-funded equipment, books and dolls to use within the lactation spaces or center classrooms.
Each program also applied for and received the Breastfeeding Friendly Designation from the Child and Adult Care Food Program and worked with the Child Care Council to edit a programmatic Breastfeeding Policy for staff and community members.
This grant is a symbol of the commitment of the state to make our communities a safe place for mothers to choose to breast-feed their infants. CEO’s participation in the grant is a testament to their dedication to their parents, children, staff and the communities they serve.
For more information on CBFC click here.
Q & A:
Why develop breastfeeding friendly spaces within child care programs?
-Everyone wants the best for their baby. We [CEO] are working to help change the culture around breastfeeding to support nursing mothers. By providing designated spaces and spreading the word that breastfeeding is welcome-families feel supported. Resources are provided in each location which inform nursing mothers of common myths and challenges they may face when choosing to breastfeed. When we empower our parents with education and resources we are helping them be the best parents they can be.
Why is breastfeeding important?
Breastfeeding is the gold standard for feeding that an infant can receive within the first months of life –no formula company can compete with breast milk. Only breast milk has the ability to change and adapt to an infant’s needs. Breast milk is also free and contains numerous health benefits that formula will never have. And even if formula did, it will not be absorbed as easily as breast milk. Breastfeeding is normal and natural and gives the baby the best possible start to life.
Where can I go for more information?
At the Community Resource Center this grant has also assisted in the opening of the first Baby Café in Troy, NY. This café is open from 12-2pm every Wednesday and allows mothers to drop in for free to receive reliable information on breastfeeding, and assistance in a calm, welcoming atmosphere.