‘Why Do We Need a Policy?’: Administrators’ Perceptions on Breast-Feeding-Friendly Childcare

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Objective: Mothers’ return to work and childcare providers’ support for feeding expressed human milk are associated with breast-feeding duration rates in the USA, where most infants are regularly under non-parental care. The objective of the present study was to explore Florida-based childcare centre administrators’ awareness and perceptions of the Florida Breastfeeding Friendly Childcare Initiative.

Design: Semi-structured interviews were based on the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research and analysed using applied thematic analysis.

Setting: Childcare centre administrators in Tampa Bay, FL, USA, interviewed in 2015.

Participants: Twenty-eight childcare centre administrators: female (100 %) and Non-Hispanic White (61 %) with mean age of 50 years and 13 years of experience.

Results: Most administrators perceived potential implementation of the Florida Breastfeeding Friendly Childcare Initiative as simple and beneficial. Tension for change and a related construct (perceived consumer need for the initiative) were low, seemingly due to formula-feeding being normative. Perceived financial costs and relative priority varied. Some centres had facilitating structural characteristics, but none had formal breast-feeding policies.

Conclusions: A cultural shift, facilitated by state and national breast-feeding-friendly childcare policies and regulations, may be important for increasing tension for change and thereby increasing access to breast-feeding-friendly childcare. Similar to efforts surrounding the rapid growth of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, national comprehensive evidence-based policies, regulations, metrics and technical assistance are needed to strengthen state-level breastfeeding-friendly childcare initiatives.


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