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University Daycare has achieved Alabama Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care certification through a partnership made available by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Alabama Department of Public Health, Alabama Breastfeeding Committee and the Alabama Partnership for Children. The Alabama Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care Initiative strives to improve and protect the health of infants by encouraging and supporting mother to continue breastfeeding even after initiating child care services.

Christina LeVert, Extension Agent with Alabama Cooperative Extension stated, “Alabama Cooperative Extension is excited to announce that University Daycare is the first child care provider in the state to receive this certification. This is a wonderful achievement for University Daycare as well as the mothers and children that they serve.”

Breastfeeding rates have been on the rise in Alabama for several years. More and more mothers are making the decision to breastfeed their infants. Also on the rise is the number of women who return to work or school after giving birth. Families are increasingly looking for child care programs which support their desires to continue to provide optimal nutrition for their infants. The Alabama Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care Initiative uses evidence-based recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics stating breastfeeding provides the best start in life for infants, breastmilk should be provided to infants even when mom and baby are separated, and breastfeeding should be portrayed through the media as the norm.

University Daycare has gone through a rigorous process of writing policies, training staff, educating families and demonstrating their commitment to support breastfeeding families in their community. Dr. Johannson, Chairman of the Alabama Breastfeeding Committee, said, “We are pleased that this child care program has been certified as an Alabama Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care for the next two years. This accomplishment is one to be modeled by other child care programs, and I commend University Daycare and their staff for this exceptional achievement. This demonstrates the program’s diligence to go beyond just providing care to children; it portrays a loyalty to provide optimal education and nutrition that will ultimately improve the health of children in Alabama.”

University Daycare serves families and children between the ages of 6 weeks and 12 years. “University Daycare is beyond proud to receive this certification,” stated program director Debbie Holley. The Alabama Department of Public Health, Alabama Breastfeeding Committee, Alabama Cooperative Extension System and Alabama Partnership for Children play a critical role in protecting and improving the health of people and communities. Working together to improve breastfeeding will help to reduce maternal and infant morbidity and mortality statewide.