Educators have gone above and beyond to support our children, and we know that students are starting to return to the classroom. Thank you for the support educators give to our community. This has been an especially challenging year!
I am a Community Health Worker here in Durham County, and we are hearing questions from lactating educators about how to keep their milk safe as they return to work. Here are resources both for lactating educators and for all who wish to support their colleagues.
The Making It Work Tool Kit for lactating parents is a resource to help breastfeeding parents return to work. It is designed to assist breastfeeding parents, their employers, and their family. Breastfeeding is one of the few immune boosters that we currently can offer to our infants during this global pandemic. Breastfeeding rates increase dramatically with support.
How can we support lactating educators as they return to work?
- Be an Advocate: Reach out to educators who may be challenged right now with balancing their desire to continue to breastfeed/express milk during the day and keeping up with the class schedule.
- Help to Create Safe and Clean Spaces: Teachers and school staff may need to use existing space, such as a small office, the nurse’s office, a teacher resource room, or a screened-off area of a conference room, to express or pump milk. Let others know if your classroom can be used during your planning period.
- Support education: School-based breastfeeding education helps improve breastfeeding rates in the long term by instilling in young people a base of evidence-informed knowledge, skills, and attitudes that primes them to make informed decisions about infant feeding and to become positive change agents. Breastfeeding rates in Durham remain below the national average. Please let us know if we can connect you to training or activity kits in whatever form might work best for your classroom.
COVID Vaccination Information:
The program manager at the Durham County Department of Public Health runs an initiative that is working to improve maternal and child health in Durham, and she is currently working on COVID vaccinations. Teachers are always on the run! There now is a lactation space available for those who need to express milk while visiting the Health Department.
- Durham County Department of Public Health appointment list (English) (Spanish).
- Optum Serve is running a site administering Johnson & Johnson (one dose) at the DPS staff development center on Hillandale Road (2107 Hillandale Road). People can call 877-505-6723 to make an appointment.
BreastfeedDurham.org is a community organization that works to promote breastfeeding and to improve maternal and child health by partnering with the Durham County Department of Public Health and other local organizations to offer community breastfeeding education and support. We continue to work to engage parents, students, and school principals to further understand normalizing breastfeeding. Please let us know if you have any questions.
- Be an advocate: Read the article in Education Week Stop Breastfeeding or Quit Teaching? The Terrible Choice Facing Many Teacher Moms
- Help to Create Safe and Clean Spaces:
- Find information and success stories about lactation support for educators: The education page from the Office of Women’s Health
- Learn about the “Break Time for Nursing Mothers” law and other lactation support information: U.S. Breastfeeding Committee: Workplace Support in Federal Law
- Normalizing Breastfeeding: Some ideas are included here.
- Invite members of Breastfeed Durham, Welcome Baby, or the Durham County Department of Public Health to virtually share information at your school.
- Create a list of books for students of all ages and in all grades that include breastfeeding images.
- Review the Breastfeeding Family Friendly Communities Curricula for very young children.
- Check out the information for high school students: A Breastfeeding Information and Activity Kit for Secondary School Teachers from Ontario Public Health Association, Canada. (This document is from 2009, and the way we think about gender has evolved. Reflect on the needs of your community. Some of the links in the document may be out of date.)
- More on Supporting Breastfeeding Students and Employees…
- Review the resource at the Pregnant Scholar: Know Your Rights: Breastfeeding (targeted at university students more than teachers)
- U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Supporting the Academic Success of Pregnant and Parenting Students
- U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Know Your Rights: Pregnant or Parenting? Title IX Protects You From Discrimination At School