You must complete and return a CACFP Infant Meal Offer Form in addition to the CACFP Enrollment Form before your child begins attending the Center. This form informs the Center of your infant’s specific meal requirements. For example, the form advises if your child is breast or bottle fed and whether or not you will be providing formula or using the Center’s formula.
Nursing Mom's Room
Breast feeding mothers are welcome and encouraged to nurse their infant as needed throughout the day. The Center has a nursing mom’s room that provides a private, comfortable place for moms to nurse their infant. Nursing moms are also welcome in the infant classrooms with a nursing cover. If you would like suggestions for covers, please request information from the Executive Director or Food Program Director.
Breast milk may be brought in fresh everyday and stored in the refrigerator or brought in weekly and stored in the Center’s main kitchen freezer. Breast milk must be labeled with:
- the child’s name,
- date and time expressed, and
- how many ounces are in the container.
Breast milk guidelines
- Breast milk/formula may not be kept at room temperature for more than one hour if it has been previously frozen or refrigerated.
- A bottle of breast milk may only be warmed once, may not be put back in the refrigerator after it has been warmed; once a bottle has been warmed, the leftovers will be discarded. To warm a bottle, a measuring cup will be used to extract hot water from the crock pot and the bag or container of milk will be placed in the measuring cup of hot water for no longer than 6 minutes.
- If breast milk has just been expressed and is at room temperature it can be kept at room temperature for 4 hours as long as it has not been given to a child.
- Freshly expressed breast milk may be kept in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.
- If it was frozen and then thawed in the refrigerator it may be kept for 24 hours. Breast milk may be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
On Demand Bottle Feeding
All children will be fed on demand which is the best way to meet an infant’s nutritional and emotional needs. In addition, feeding on demand helps infants to develop trust and a feeling of security. However, we understand that feeding on demand does not mean offering food every time a child shows signs of discomfort. Needing a nap or a diaper change could also be the cause of crying.
All infants are held when being given a bottle. Giving an infant a bottle when they are lying down or in their crib is dangerous; and may lead to choking, ear infections, or dental problems and is against the center’s policy.
Parents must provide enough bottles to last during a full day at child care. If your child drinks 4 bottles during a typical day at child care, then 4 bottles are to be kept at the Center.
The Center provides Parents Choice with Lipids Milk based formula (or soy Based formula, with a doctor’s note) for your infant. You may choose to provide your own formula. If you provide your own formula, it must be factory sealed and labeled with your child’s name. The Center cannot accept opened cans of formula. Formula will only be given as per the instructions on the container, unless a doctor’s note is provided. Formula bottles are prepared using tap water and warmed up in a bottle warmer as needed. If you prefer to have bottles prepared using bottled water, please provide the factory sealed bottled water and again, please label with your child’s name.
Starting and Infant on Baby Foods
Infants are generally ready for baby food from 4-7 months of age. When a child is ready to start cereal, their parent/guardian must first sign the CACFP sheet stating that their child is ready. An infant needs to have a food for 5 days at home before starting that food at the Center to ensure they will not have an allergic reaction. As you deem a food safe for your infant to eat, please mark that food off on your infant’s food sheet posted in the classroom.
An infant will always be served their bottle before their solid food as breast milk or formula provides the best source of nutrients. The Center offers Gerber iron-fortified infant cereal and a variety of Gerber Stage 1 and Stage 2 fruits and vegetables. Parents may choose whether the infant cereal will be mixed with breast milk, water, or formula. Per Federal guidelines, iron-fortified cereal must be served at breakfast until an infant is 12 months of age.
Transitioning from Baby Food to Table Food and Bottles to Sippy Cups
Infants are generally ready to transition from baby food to table food between 8 and 11 months. A parent/guardian must first sign the CACFP sheet stating that their child is ready for this transition. Food will be mashed, ground or cut up into pieces no larger than ¼ inch square or served to the child according to their chewing and swallowing capabilities. Food will also be served on a plate and infants will also be given a spoon when eating even though they will most likely only use their fingers in order to prepare them for moving to the toddler classroom. After your child has transitioned to table food, your infant will also be offered a sippy-cup at meal times in order to practice and eventually transition to a sippy-cup before moving to a toddler room.
All meal time transitions will be done with parent’s approval only.
In order to help your child communicate at meal times we recommend you use the following signs at meal times at home: “more”, “milk”, “drink” and “all done”. The Center uses these signs in our infant and toddler rooms with great success. You infant packet has illustrations of these signs.