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Meal Pattern Minute: Breastfeeding

June 17, 2023

In the infant meal pattern, we know that infants are served breastmilk or iron-fortified infant formula, and this is creditable in the Child and Adult Care Food Program. But when looking at the CACFP meal pattern for children 1 year and older, it is unclear if breastmilk is creditable in the CACFP. So could breastmilk credit in the CACFP, if served to a 2-year-old child or if child is breastfed on site? 


Want to learn the answer to this question? Listen to this Meal Pattern Minute where Isabel Ramos-Lebron, MS, RDN, LD, gives the answer on whether breastmilk credits as fluid milk in the CACFP meal pattern for children 12 months and older. 


There is so much more to learn about the infant meal pattern, check out the “Feeding Infants in the Child and Adult Care Food Program” for more information about breastfeeding infants and children. 

Breastmilk may be used to meet the fluid milk component in the meal pattern for children. If a parent wants his or her child (1 year old or older) to be served breastmilk in place of fluid milk, a written request by the parent is not required. Mothers may breastfeed on site or parents can provide pumped breastmilk for their child. Parents do not need to provide a written request for the meal to be reimbursed. 

If a mother is unable to provide enough breastmilk to meet the minimum fluid milk requirement of 4 fluid ounces (½ cup) at each meal or snack for a child 1 through 2 years old, unflavored whole milk may be offered, after breastmilk, to meet the minimum requirement. For children older than 2, unflavored fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk may be served after breastmilk to meet the minimum fluid milk requirement for that age group. Discuss this with the parents before giving a child fluid milk. 


As a best practice, the CACFP encourages you to offer a quiet, private area that is comfortable and clean for the mother to breastfeed her baby. As a CACFP provider, you will still receive reimbursement for meals and snacks when the mother has provided pumped breastmilk or has breastfed her baby at your child care site even after the child’s first birthday. To find out how to create a breastfeeding-friendly environment, check out the meal pattern minute and blog discussing this topic and providing additional resources to support breastfeeding mothers. 

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