Options for Breastfeeding Incentives
The committee considered options to encourage breastfeeding by CACFP participants. Barriers to breastfeeding while participating in CACFP include the convenience and timing involved in using a breast pump; concerns about handling and storage of breast milk by providers; and accessibility concerns on the part of mothers who wish to breastfeed at the provider site. The committee concluded that there is a need for an easy and high impact incentive that interfaces with the CACFP mission and complements provider settings; and that could be a reimbursable infant meal option for providers.
Options considered include the following:
Providing food to breastfeeding mothers only; this may take the form of a WIC-like food voucher to mothers of fully (or almostfully) breastfed infants from birth to 6 months. Food packages could include foods consistent with the revised Meal Requirements: fruits, vegetables, and whole grain-rich food products. The committee acknowledges that this would constitute an added cost to the program. Such a program addition, however, would add a high-visibility benefit to mothers who are considering breastfeeding or may enhance consideration of breastfeeding of future infants.
Develop a system that provides breast pumps on loan to CACFP participant mothers who plan to breastfeed. The program also could include providing a paid referral to a certified lactation coach. In addition, educational materials, DVDs, or web-based
information and support messages could be provided onsite and/or sent to a breastfeeding mother’s PDA device.
Provide the required vitamins needed by breastfed infants such as vitamin D, iron, and fluoride that are recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and other authoritative bodies based upon the age, feeding pattern, and community drinking water characteristics of the infant participant. The committee anticipates this option would add little cost to the program. This benefit also would help the breastfed infant directly and would be another high-visibility benefit.