Breastfeeding Family Friendly Public Libraries

Breastfeeding Family Friendly Public Libraries can be some of the easiest places to visit when you have a brand-new baby. Libraries offer quiet areas to sit and relax while reading and feeding a baby. Libraries have children’s programs that engage older siblings in a safe location while the parent observes and breastfeeds the baby.

What can libraries do to support breastfeeding and welcome breastfeeding families? 

  • Provide culturally appropriate breastfeeding friendly educational materials and/or maintain a list of citations for publications. 
  • Purchase and make available breastfeeding information and books that normalize breastfeeding, that is, provide books that include images of breastfeeding parents.
  • Include interactive and developmentally appropriate learning opportunities that normalize breastfeeding for children in children’s programs. 
  • Learn where/how to access information on the local lactation support and other resources in the community to provide to families.
  • Welcome breastfeeding families to breastfeed anywhere in the facility that the parent is allowed to be.
  • Adopt a written breastfeeding policy that includes the above information. 

Adopting a Breastfeeding Friendly Policy:

  • Make the decision to adopt a breastfeeding family friendly policy and seek support. 
  • Identify lactation advocates and families who are currently breastfeeding or breastfed in the past to assist and support other nursing families.
  • Create a breastfeeding family friendly committee to discuss breastfeeding policy.
  • Provide staff training on: Benefits of breastfeeding for child, family, and community; Optimal breastfeeding practices–exclusive breastfeeding for six months and appropriate introduction of solid foods with continued breastfeeding for one to two years and beyond; and Communication with families that supports breastfeeding goals.
  • Welcome breastfeeding in all the areas of the library where a parent is allowed to go.
  • Create a private place, as space allows and that is not a bathroom, for staff to express their milk and to accommodate staff and other parents who may wish to nurse their infants in private while in the facilities, while welcoming breastfeeding in the public spaces.
  • Learn where/how to access information on the local lactation support and other resources in the community to provide to families.
  • Welcome local breastfeeding organizations, that offer peer-to-peer breastfeeding support groups, to hold meetings in your facility.
  • Ensure that all staff, volunteers, and others working with community members, especially those who have contact with visitors, receive copies of the policy. 
  • Announce the breastfeeding friendly policy on your website, in your newsletters–both online and hard copy, and via posters and pamphlets in the library.
  • Continue to provide education to staff and families and share resources to support breastfeeding.