Childcare certification supports breastfeeding moms
Miss Stephanie’s House earns ‘breastfeeding-friendly’ certification
May 12, 2022
Miss Stephanie’s House in Carbondale recently became one of the valley’s first childcare providers to receive the Colorado breastfeeding-friendly certification. Stephanie Northrup’s home childcare was recognized by both Garfield County Public Health and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) for creating a welcoming environment for mothers to breastfeed and for providing resources and support.
“I want to do everything I can to support mothers who want to breastfeed,” Northrup said. “I respect whatever moms choose to do, but if they want to breastfeed, I want to help nurture those bonds.”
The certification is awarded to childcare programs that have completed an online training program, provide a space for nursing moms, and offer only breastmilk to exclusively breastfed babies. It also awards Colorado Shines Points, the rating system for childcare providers.
“Two of our current families are expecting and their infants will be joining us here. The kids are curious and have questions about what babies are like after they’re born,” Northrup said. “We use this as a chance to talk about what they can expect.”
Northrup, who also teaches an early childhood education course for Colorado Mountain College, added that breastfeeding is important for nutrition as well as attachment and bonding.
Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Stephanie Nick with Garfield County Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) agrees.
“We call breastmilk liquid gold,” she said. “It’s designed by mothers for their baby’s exact needs and can even provide environment-specific antibodies to viruses and bacteria.”
A mother exposed to a virus can pass along helpful immunity to circulating diseases through breastmilk. The Garfield County WIC program offers breastfeeding support, free breast pump rental, and has certified lactation counselors on staff.
“We help families reach their breastfeeding goals by troubleshooting problems that may arise,” said Nick. “We even have a breastfeeding peer counselor program staffed with other moms who have been through it. They have flexible hours so they can be easily reached when needed. Sometimes you need help at times other than 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusively breastfeeding for 6 months and continuing with a mix of breastmilk and solid foods for one year. Nick adds that any period of breastfeeding helps, even if not a full year.
Breastfed individuals have a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Babies have a decreased risk of SIDS, respiratory tract infections, type 1 diabetes, and adolescent obesity.
Childcare providers interested in becoming breastfeeding friendly can contact Garfield County Registered Dietitian and Certified Lactation Counselor Stephanie Nick at 970-625-5200, ext. 2036.