Hi, welcome to infant feeding scenarios. This brief module is offered as a complement to early care and education college courses that cover health, safety, and nutrition. It's not meant to be exhaustive, but simply to highlight the important best practices and key information, as well as to provide you with additional resources.
So let's get started. Families take into consideration many factors when deciding whether they will feed their infant human milk or commercial infant formula. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends human milk as the preferred food for infants, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Breastfeeding Report Card, most families in the United States start off breastfeeding or chest feeding.
Unfortunately, many families stop breastfeeding early and a lack of support is one reason why. As a child care provider, your support can make a big difference to families and help them meet their feeding goals. For more information on how you can support breast and chest feeding families, please view the Breast and Chest Feeding Friendly Child care provider module.
Whether human milk or iron fortified formula, infants should be fed only these two foods from birth until they reach six months of age, unless directed differently by the child's doctor.
Preparing infant formula should be done with care and precision, whether by the parent or the child care provider. Mistakes can lead to foodborne illnesses as well as nutrient deficiencies or excesses. All of those can lead to serious health consequences for the infant. Most child care programs will have a policy on whether the parent is responsible for preparing the formula or providing it to be prepared in the care setting.
Regardless, formula bottles should be prepared and labeled with the child's name as well as the date and time it was prepared. Always remember good hand washing techniques whenever you are preparing bottles or feeding infants. Also keep in mind that nothing besides formula or human milk should be in the bottle, no medicine or cereal.
When feeding infants, always hold them and pay close attention In the breast and chest feeding friendly child care provider module, we share a video that demonstrates the paste bottle feeding technique, which is one way you can support infants in drinking just the right amount of formula or human milk.
We also provide a link to the same video in the resources at the end of this module. Once an infant gives cues that they are done with the feeding, the formula should be discarded within one hour. Consider preparing small amounts, such as one or two ounces, to help you avoid waste and reduce our tendency to encourage the infant to finish the bottle, even after they've already told us they are full.
As a child care provider, your support for breast and chest feeding families is critical to their success. And as I mentioned previously, you may find the Breast and Chest Feeding Friendly Child Care Provider module helpful, as it provides more detail on the support you can provide. A simple first step is to encourage families to feed their babies on site.
You should not make a parent breastfeed in a separate space, but you can offer a space if it makes them feel more comfortable. Accepting, storing, and feeding human milk is a little bit different than other infant foods, but similar in many ways. Milk expressed by the parent should be labeled with the child's name and the date that it was expressed.