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Building Partnerships to Enhance Breastfeeding Support in Head Start Programs

Head Start (HS) and Early Head Start (EHS) are comprehensive child development programs serving children from birth to age 5 and their families. Head Start programs emphasize school readiness, comprehensive health screening, parent involvement, and leveraging existing social services. In Washington, there are approximately 50 Head Start and/or Early Head Start programs offering both home and center-based options. Many of these programs have multiple centers in different communities.

Last spring, the Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington (BCW) initiated a partnership with the Region X Office of Head Start and learned that many HS programs would welcome more support and guidance with breastfeeding education. Federal mandates require HS and EHS programs to provide education to enrolled families on many health and child development topics including breastfeeding. However, individual HS programs can adopt different approaches to breastfeeding education.

Through presentations at the Region X Early Head Start Conference and the BCW Annual Meeting, the organizations have continued to build connections. Local breastfeeding coalitions have been encouraged to connect with Head Start and Early Head Start programs in their area. In addition to helping educate families, breastfeeding professionals could potentially serve on a local Head Start advisory group to further support the program and enrolled families.

Partners

Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington, Region X Office of Head Start

Target Audience

Families enrolled in Head Start and Early Head Start programs

Region

State-wide

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