Breastfeeding Friendly Environments

The Advancing Breastfeeding in Colorado (ABC) project seeks to improve health and reduce inequities across the state by creating a seamless system of breastfeeding support for parents and families. Breastfeeding provides numerous benefits and is the healthiest option for parents and infants. However breastfeeding families often face obstacles that make a difference in how long infants are breastfed.

It takes a supportive community environment to help breastfeeding families to be successful. The Public Health Institute at Denver Health promotes and supports breastfeeding friendly policies and practices within businesses, organizations, and public areas so that they are welcoming to all families that are breastfeeding.

Become a Breastfeeding Friendly Employer

As an employer, you have the opportunity to support nursing families returning to work. Breastfeeding friendly employers have healthier work forces and overall better morale.

Benefits: Providing support for lactating individuals at work is good for your business. Family-friendly practices can produce a 3 to 1 return on investment due to:

  • Lower health care costs
  • Reduced rate of absenteeism due to infant illness (among both mothers and fathers)
  • Lower turnover rates
  • Improved employee productivity and loyalty
  • A more family-friendly image in the community

Employer Responsibilities: Colorado and federal laws and accommodations are in place to protect breastfeeding families. The Colorado Workplace Accommodations For Nursing Mothers Act establishes a standard for an employer to:

  • Provide reasonable unpaid break time, or allow an employee to use paid break and/or meal time, to express breast milk for their nursing child for up to 2 years after the child’s birth.
  • Make reasonable efforts to provide a nursing parent with a private location in close proximity to her work area (other than a toilet stall) in which to express milk.
  • Not discriminate against parents for expressing milk in the workplace.

The Public Health Institute at Denver Health can recognize you as a breastfeeding friendly employer if these three elements are in place:

  • Policy: A written breastfeeding policy that is communicated.
  • Time: Few or no barriers to scheduling pumping breaks during the workday.
  • Space: A prioritized or designated private pumping space that is not a restroom or toilet stall.


Become a Breastfeeding Friendly Public Space

A lactation friendly public space is a business, organization, or public area that is welcoming to families that are lactating. Providing a lactating friendly public space and supporting lactating families is good for your reputation and good for the community.

Colorado Revised Statues 25-6-302 establishes that a mother may breastfeed in any place she has a right to be.

Support is simple. The Public Health Institute at Denver Health can recognize you as a breastfeeding friendly public space if the following criteria are met:

  • Signage: Display stickers, window clings, or signage in a visible location indicating you welcome lactating families in your establishment. This can include your website.
  • Education: Educate employees and volunteers about your commitment, policy, and practices to welcoming lactating families. Provide regular reminders at staff meetings or volunteer trainings can also help to keep your commitment top-of-mind.
  • Environment: Create a welcoming environment that feels friendly, non-judgmental, and supportive towards lactating families. The best environment for each breastfeeding individual and baby will depend on what they need. The common agreement should be that breastfeeding individuals will NOT be harassed, treated with disrespect, or be asked to leave because they are breastfeeding.


Become a Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care Provider

As a child care professional, you can play a critical role in helping families to achieve their breastfeeding goals. Returning to work after having a baby is often a difficult time for a parent. If a parent does not believe they will be supported by their employer or child care professional, they may decide not to breastfeed, or may stop breastfeeding early. Being a breastfeeding-friendly child care provider can increase the length of time babies are breastfed, leading to better health outcomes for both the parents and children. By sharing your knowledge and support of breastfeeding with families, you can help improve the health and wellbeing of the children in your care.

The Advancing Breastfeeding in Colorado Project is partnering with Healthy Child Care Colorado on Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care Recognition, and programs may obtain Colorado Shines points for achieving recognition.

Child cares can request to be connected with a Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care Advisor at the Healthy Child Care Colorado website. Those interested in becoming advisors may also apply to do so. Recognition will be obtained if the following key elements are in place:

  • Make a commitment to the importance of breastfeeding, including written policies and procedures and supporting any breastfeeding staff who choose to breastfeed.
  • Education and Training: Train yourself and staff in the skills needed to support breastfeeding, require continued education updates at least once a year and provide education to families and visitors.
  • Create a culture and environment at your program that is openly supportive of breastfeeding, including a designated space for nursing or expressing milk.
  • Communication: Build strong relationships and communicate regularly with your staff and families. This includes developing written feeding plans, feeding in response to hunger cues, properly labelling milk, etc.
  • Refer families to local breastfeeding resources, services and skilled breastfeeding support.


Child Care and Parent Toolkits:


Other Resources, Handouts and Materials

Become a Breastfeeding Friendly Medical Office

Making Breastfeeding Work for Medical Offices is a six-point toolkit to guide medical offices in developing policies and practices for optimal breastfeeding support. The recommendations are aligned with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, and the World Health Organization.

The Public Health Institute at Denver Health can recognize your medical office as breastfeeding friendly if six key criteria are met:

  • Written lactation policy that is routinely communicated to all staff and volunteers.
  • Training: all health care providers and medical office staff should be trained in the principles of the breastfeeding policy to levels that are appropriate to their roles, including a basic understanding of human lactation.
  • Patient Education: pregnant parents and their families should receive evidence-based messages and guidance about breastfeeding and breastfeeding management throughout the pre- and postnatal periods.
  • Welcoming Environment: all families should encounter a medical office environment that is conducive to optimal breastfeeding and reaching one’s breastfeeding goals (displaying positive breastfeeding messaging and culturally relevant images, space to nurse, etc.).
  • Evaluation: breastfeeding-related practices and policies should be documented, evaluated, and billed so they can be normalized, improved, and sustained.
  • Continuity of Care: families should receive timely postpartum follow-up for optimal breastfeeding support. Providers have a wide variety of resources and referrals available to facilitate breastfeeding management.


The Public Health Institute at Denver Health offers assistance, and is proud to provide:

  • Technical support and coaching
  • Print materials (breastfeeding laws, sample policies, educational materials, work space guidelines, etc.)
  • Denver Breastfeeding Resource Guide
  • Staff training (PDIS and continued child care certification training)
  • Limited funding to support the development of lactation spaces
  • Limited funding to support individuals in obtaining lactation credentials
  • Connections to statewide partners and resources
  • Statewide recognition/certification

For more information about ABC or creating breastfeeding friendly spaces, please contact Mandy Feeks at

Celebrate these breastfeeding friendly organizations with us!

Denver Businesses Recognized:

  • Alliance Center
  • Center for African American Health
  • Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
  • Colorado Health Institute
  • Denver Health
  • Families Forward Resource Center
  • Focus Points Family Resource Center
  • Metro Caring
  • Regional Transportation District (RTD)
  • Stride Community Health Center

Denver Public Spaces Recognized:

  • Ball Arena

Denver Child Cares Recognized:

  • An Apple A Day
  • Family Star

Denver Medical Offices Recognized:

  • Every Child Pediatrics

More Information

For more information about the regional partnership or the CCPD Grants program for breastfeeding, please visit the Advancing Breastfeeding in Colorado website.