Breastfeeding information for children and young people

In BfN we want to see public attitudes towards breastfeeding change so we can build a more supportive and informed culture around it. Our work with young people in schools shows us that attitudes towards infant feeding can be set years before parenting happens but with balanced information delivered in an engaging manner there can be a shift in thinking. We would like to see all children and young people learning about breastfeeding and early nutrition at school so that they have the information they need about their bodies years before they become parents. Working with school age children helps open up space to start conversations at home and help normalise breastfeeding in the wider community.

During 2018-19 we were funded for a specific project working with two schools via a Catalysts for Change grant from The Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland (QNIS). The project plan included development and delivery of short interactive learning sessions about breastfeeding and early nutrition for children and young people between the ages of 3 and 16. During the year, sessions relating to breastfeeding were presented to over 1000 pupils of all ages. 

The aims of the work were that:

  1. Children and young people have increased knowledge and are able to make healthy and informed choices about feeding babies
  2. Children and young people have a better understanding about the barriers to breastfeeding and why community support is important.

This work showed that a short and relatively low cost intervention can help shift attitudes among children and young people and help them to become more positive towards breastfeeding. The sessions also helped to increase children and young people’s knowledge about breastfeeding and about the barriers to breastfeeding that some women face.

To help spread this work and start conversations about breastfeeding with teachers, children and young people we are happy to share the lesson plans we have developed. We only ask that the resources are not used for any commercial purpose and that BfN is acknowledged as part of your work. You can order free downloadable copies of the lesson plans from our shop by clicking here.   If you find the resources useful please consider making a donation to help us continue to develop and expand this work with children and young people.  We would be happy to hear any feedback about how we could improve the resources or about how your session went if you used them in a school. You can email us or get in touch via any of our social media channels.

Because this work was carried out in Scotland the lesson plans currently link to the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence. The National Curriculum in England includes many similar topics, for example the Science curriculum includes learning about mammals, nutrition through the life stages and puberty and the Design and Technology curriculum: cooking and nutrition topic includes learning about healthy diets and where food comes from, all of which could include mention of breastfeeding.

Further information on why education about breastfeeding is so vital for children and young people http://theconversation.com/does-breastfeeding-really-belong-on-the-school-curriculum-96740

You can find out more about the project on the QNIS website https://www.qnis.org.uk/project/working-with-children-and-young-people-a-community-approach-to-understanding-and-valuing-breastfeeding-and-early-nutrition/

There is also a poster about this work that will be shared at the NHS Health Scotland event in Glasgow at the end of May 2019.