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Libraries and Librarians Supporting Nursing Families

Enjoy this excerpt from an Association of Library Service to Children blog about how important it is for librarians to actively support breastfeeding parents. Read the full blog here.

This month is the 13th annual National Breastfeeding Month! The campaign helps celebrate the many and varying reasons why this act is so important while focusing the conversation on the babies and families in our communities. Librarians can be crucial in creating a welcoming environment of awareness and support for mothers and lactating parents.

Our culture can be hostile toward nursing in public, causing new parents to prefer bottle feeding with formula rather than feel naked and exposed while nursing outside the home. When parents do not feel they can feed their babies wherever they are, the result is often that they abandon breastfeeding.

Libraries are essential community resources for families – inviting parents to join their children in activities and providing information on pregnancy, birth, and child-rearing. Because libraries are spaces where children and adults learn together, librarians can play an important role in the promotion and protection of breastfeeding/chestfeeding. Providing resources that model the normalcy and naturalness of nursing not only helps support parents, but also helps to grow the next generation of nursing families.

How Can Librarians help?

The stigmas and obstacles that surround nursing cannot be changed overnight, but librarians can make inroads into changing peoples’ attitudes – both old and young. Making nursing parents feel welcome in the library is a great start, but the best route to lasting change is by helping children see nursing as a normal and routine activity.

Parents cannot advocate for nursing alone; community support from librarians, daycare providers, educators, and neighborhood businesses is essential to actively promote and protect it.

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