State variations in infant feeding regulations for child care

Sara E. Benjamin-Neelon, Sarah Nahm, Elyse Grossman, Melanie L. Davis, Brian Neelon, Anna Ayers Looby, Natasha Frost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: Early care and education (ECE) settings have become primary targets for policy change in recent years. In our 2008 study, we assessed state and regional variation in infant feeding regulations for ECE and compared them to national standards. We conducted the same regulatory review to assess change over time. Because all but 2 states have updated their regulations, we hypothesized that states would have made substantial improvements in the number of regulations supporting infant feeding in ECE. METHODS: For this cross-sectional study, we reviewed infant feeding regulations for all US states for child care centers (centers) and family child care homes (homes). We compared regulations with 10 national standards and assessed the number of new regulations consistent with these standards since our previous review. RESULTS: Comparing results from 2008 and 2016, we observed significant improvements in 7 of the 10 standards for centers and 4 of the 10 standards for homes. Delaware was the only state with regulations meeting 9 of the 10 standards for centers in 2008. In 2016, Delaware and Michigan had regulations meeting 8 of the 10 standards. Previously, Arkansas, the District of Columbia, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, and South Carolina had regulations consistent with 4 of the 10 standards for homes. In 2016, Delaware, Mississippi, and Vermont had regulations meeting 7 of the 10 standards. CONCLUSIONS: Evidence suggests that enacting new regulations may improve child health outcomes. Given that many states recently enacted regulations governing infant feeding, our findings point to the growing interest in this area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere20172076
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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