Lightbridge Academy is not only a leading early education and child care franchise with 35 open locations and 70 more in development, but the brand is also an innovator within the child care sector. As The Solution for Working Parents®, Lightbridge Academy identified a need to provide specialized support for nursing infants and mothers as they transitioned back to work. The BottleBridge Certification Program helps infant caregivers bridge the gap between home and school by supporting every mother’s decision…whether that is to nurse, provide bottle-fed breastmilk or formula.
Alma Balliu lives in Colonia, New Jersey, and her four-year-old daughter and one-year-old son have both attended Lightbridge Academy in Iselin, New Jersey since they were two months old. The BottleBridge Certification program began in between Balliu’s two children, and she also changed careers during that time frame. When her daughter was born, she was a teacher and needed to pump in the bathroom – which was understandably “annoying.” She now owns a pizzeria and a laundromat, and she notes that having the dedicated Bonding Room in the center made a world of difference with her son.
“I own two businesses right up the street from the Lightbridge Academy that my children attend, so it is super convenient for me to be able to run to the center to breastfeed because so I didn’t have to pack bottles and pump,” Balliu said. “I’d drop him off, feed him, leave a bottle and then I’d feed him when I pick him up. For me, pumping is difficult, and dealing with all the bottles is a lot of work. In the Bonding Room, I have privacy, and it actually kept my milk supply up. It is great that Lightbridge provides that room.”
In addition to having a Bonding Room, infant caregivers are trained on how to properly bottle-feed expressed breast milk and safely handle its storage. The BottleBridge training is provided through the company’s online learning center and also teaches the staff about the benefits of breastfeeding and how to support the needs of a nursing mother and child.
“We know that breastfeeding provides babies and their mothers with so many benefits. Mothers should have the option to continue nursing if they choose to do so, even when they need to get back to the office,” said Gigi Schweikert, President and Chief Operating Officer of Lightbridge Academy. “As a company focused on providing outstanding customer service, this rings true with our BottleBridge Certification Program. It allows our staff to offer nursing moms peace of mind knowing that their desires are being met ”