A Breastfeeding Education Activity Package for Grades K-12



Students will realize the benefits of breastfeeding over bottlefeeding as it relates to nutrition, health, economics, ecology, and time management.


Eleven lessons related to breastfeeding are included in Level 5. These lessons include broader content areas such as ecology, nutrition, puberty, economics, time management, and the impact of the mass media. While studying the broader content areas, the teacher can use each lesson in its entirety or choose to use certain activities within the lessons.

Lessons 1, 2, 3, and 4 examine puberty including the study of the mammary glands. Lessons 5 and 6 could be used when the class is studying ecological issues as it involves the comparison of formula (and the cans it is packed in) to breastmilk. Time management is the focus of Lessons 7, 8, 9, and 10 and activities are provided for students to compare the amount of time and energy used in breastfeeding versus bottlefeeding. The media has a great impact on the choices we make and Lesson 11 examines how our beliefs are impacted by the advertising industry.



"Feelings: Inside, Outside, Upside Down" by Sunburst Communications, Pleasantville, New York 10570.

"The New Improved Me" by Sunburst Communications, Pleasantville, New York 10570.


The What's Happening To My Body Book for Girls. L. Madaras, New Market Press, New York, 1988.

The What's Happening To My Body Book for Boys. L. Madaras. New Market Press. New York, 1988.

Let's Talk About...S-E-X. S. Gitchel and L. Foster. Planned Parenthood of Central California, 1986.

I Helped Save The Earth. M. O'Brien. Berkley Books. New York, 1991.

Before You Start:

  • Each of the lessons included in this level contain learning activities that promote breastfeeding. It is recommended that each lesson be taught at various times throughout the year. One lesson does not need to be used in sequence with another. Rather, these lessons should be incorporated into various subject areas. The activities listed are designed to be supplemented to your lessons on ecology, nutrition, decision-making, time management, and puberty education.
  • The lessons on puberty only incorporate information relative to breastfeeding. These materials are considered supplementary to the existing unit on puberty. If a district does not have such a unit in place, one would need to take the necessary steps to implement a new program.
Nature Takes Its Course 1-4. What Is My Body Doing? Science, Health, Family Life, Language Arts
Nature Takes Its Course 5-6. Waste Not...Want Not Science, Health, Math, Reading, Language Arts
Why Did I Do That? 7-10. Not Enough Hours In a Day Health, Language Arts, Family Life, Math
Why Did I Do That? 11. Advertising Affects Me Language Arts, Art


Human milk is produced by the mammary glands.

Lessons 1, 2, 3, & 4 Science, Health, Family Life, Language Arts


Vocabulary Words:

  • Reproductive System: system of the body that has the ability to produce offspring.
  • Puberty: the period of growth from childhood to adulthood.
  • Mammary Gland: glands located in the breasts which secrete milk.
  • Lactation: process of producing milk.
  • (Other words will be introduced but the students should not be required to memorize all of them.)

Advance Preparation:

  • Photocopy pre- and post-test and vocabulary word list
  • Obtain and/ or photocopy any materials already used for puberty lessons.
  • Gather audio-visual equipment: VCR, TV, overhead projector (whatever you need for your current program on puberty).

Activities: Lesson 1

  • Ask students if they can ever remember a time when they felt embarrassed to ask a question or to answer one.
  • What rules could a class follow that could help everyone feel comfortable?
  • Develop a list of ground rules to be used during class and post on a wall where they can be seen. Rules might include listen to others, do not laugh at anyone's answer, no put-downs, do not talk while others are speaking, be able to pass (not answer a question) if it makes one uncomfortable, use scientific terminology rather than slang, be respectful, accept that others will think differently or have different values, etc. Stress that a safe comfortable atmosphere is needed as sensitive material will be discussed.
  • Pass out the puberty quiz and use it as a pre-test. Teacher should collect papers and grade or have students correct their own. Save pre-tests to compare to post-tests.
  • Pass out the vocabulary word list for students to keep as a reference sheet. Students should not be required to memorize all these terms. Rather, they should become familiar with the terminology.

Activities: Lesson 2

  • Watch video, "Feelings: Inside Outside Upside Down" by Sunburst regarding the emotional changes that occur during puberty. Students answer questions using the discussion guide provided.

Activities: Lesson 3

  • Watch a video about the changes brought on by puberty. "The New Improved Me" by Sunburst is excellent. After the video, use discussion guide questions and/or make up your own questions. One question that can be added to the discussion guide is: Why do females have breasts? (Video states that breasts are for feeding babies.)

Activities: Lesson 4

  • Pass out diagrams of male and female reproductive organs. Students label parts of the body and complete the matching section where the name of the reproductive organ is matched to its definition. Include diagram of a breast showing areola, milk ducts, etc.
  • Pass out blank index cards to each student. Have them write questions anonymously regarding puberty. Every student should write something - either a question or No Question. This makes everyone feel comfortable about asking questions because they will not feel like they are the only ones writing. Everyone will be busy writing something and the pressure is off those who really want to ask a question. Teacher answers questions. (Read question so that students can ask follow-up questions comfortably.)


Pass out the post-test and give it to the class. Teacher should collect and correct. Check for questions that several students may still not understand and re-teach any problem areas. (Students could be embarrassed to admit they had incorrect answers in front of their peers. Do not have students switch papers to correct.)


Breastfeeding is better for the environment than bottlefeeding.

Lessons 5 & 6 Science, Math, Health, Reading, Language Arts


Vocabulary Words:

  • Environment: the world around us, our surroundings.
  • Ecology: the study of the relationships between organisms and their environment.
  • Recycling: to use again.
  • Waste Management: the act of controlling or supervising trash removal.

Advance Preparation:

  • Purchase or borrow I Helped Save the Earth.
  • Gather markers and newsprint for brainstorming activity.
  • Ask a parent of a newborn or call a local hospital or pediatrician/family physician to determine an average amount of cans used per day to formula feed a baby.
  • Contact and arrange for a guest speaker regarding waste removal and recycling.
  • Make arrangements for a field trip to a recycling plant.

Activities: Lesson 5

  • When studying about ecology and methods of protecting the environment through recycling and waste management, ask what are some things your family could do to reduce trash? I Helped Save the Earth (see resource list) can be a reading assignment.
  • Have students break into groups of 4-5 and brainstorm ideas for reducing trash. One student should be a recorder to write answers down and another can be the reporter to share the group's answers with the class. NOTE: Teacher can mention breastfeeding instead of bottlefeeding if students don't write it in.
  • Using bottlefeeding an infant as an example, try to calculate how many bottles, cans, etc. are used each day, week, month, and year using formula instead of breastfeeding.
  • In front of class, calculate together:
    • (a) How many cans/bottles are used per day for a two month old infant?
    • (b) How many cans/bottles are used per week?
    • (c) How many cans/bottles are used in a month?
    • (d) How many cans/bottles are used in a year?
    • (e) What is one way to reduce the amount of cans/bottles used to feed an infant? Students will need to be guided with this question. We do not necessarily choose something a baby needs strictly on an environmental basis. However, in combination with the fact that breastmilk is better nutritionally and helps the infant remain healthy against colds and diarrhea as well as other medical problems, breastfeeding is a choice parents could make to reduce waste.

Activities: Lesson 6

  • Using I Helped Save the Earth, have students calculate other items they use in a day, week, month, year. Have them identify ways to reduce the amount of waste they produce.
  • Invite a guest speaker to come in from an environmental agency. Prepare questions ahead of time for the speaker. Have the speaker address concerns for the future regarding waste removal and recycling.
  • If possible, visit a recycling plant. Ask to have a tour guide to explain what is being done. If field trips are not possible, invite a person from the recycling plant to visit your class.


Students write a report on some aspect of recycling/waste management. Included in the report should be ways that they can contribute to help deal with waste management


Decisions are based on values.

Lessons 7, 8, 9, & 10 Health, Language Arts


Vocabulary Words:

  • Values: ideas or beliefs we hold dear.
  • Conflict: sharp disagreement in ideas or interests.

Advance Preparation:

Activities: Lesson 7

Activities: Lesson 8

  • Keep a record of how they spend their time by giving them a Worksheet to record what they do using half-hour intervals.
    • i.e.-
    • 7:00 - get up and shower
    • 7:30 - eat breakfast
    • 8:00 - ride bus
    • 8:30 - begin school
    • Discussion Questions:
      • (1) Was there any time that you could have used to get something else done?
      • (2) Do you think you use your time wisely?
      • (3) What did you spend the most time on other than school?
      • (4) What is one change you could make to improve on how you spend time?
      • (5) Why do you think people care about spending time wisely?
    • Explain to students that values affect our decisions about what we do and what we buy, what we say, etc. Once values are clarified, it can lead to more satisfying choices and decisions. Values can change over time. Conflicting values can also make decisions difficult to choose. A person may be unsure about what (s)he values most. People often say they value certain things, but it is their actions that really show us what they value. A person might say (s)he values good health yet (s)he never exercises. Does this person really value good health? Does (s)he value something else more that causes him/her not to exercise, i.e. sleeping, watching television, etc.

Activities: Lesson 9

  • Explain that the class will be taking a look at what people value. Choose seven things that fifth grade children might value, teenagers might value, and that an adult about to have a child might value. List these items on the board, separating them by age group. Some examples are listed below:
    • Fifth Grade
      • sports
      • television
      • food
      • friends
      • good grades
      • family
      • reading
    • Teen-Ager
      • friends
      • television
      • sports
      • talking on phone
      • family
      • getting a license
      • reading
    • Adult About to Have Baby
      • good health
      • safe home
      • money to adequately provide for family
      • family
      • friends
      • breastfeeding
    • Compare what each group values. What are some things that are the same? different?
    • Do you think values change over time?
    • Using breastfeeding a baby as an example, why might a person make a choice to breastfeed a baby? What might they value?
      • Examples:
      • good health for baby: breast milk is the most nutritious food for infants and it can help protect infants from getting illnesses like the flu, diarrhea, and may prevent some allergies.
      • convenience: breastmilk is always the right temperature and you do not need to sterilize bottles. You also do not have to carry bottles whenever you go somewhere. To better understand the value of convenience, estimate how much time it takes each day to wash and sterilize bottles. Multiply for a week, month, and year.
      • good health for mom: breastfeeding helps the mom's uterus and body weight return to its normal size.

Activities: Lesson 10

  • Interview a new mother who breastfeeds her baby. Why did she choose to do so? They may also interview a mom who chose to bottlefeed.


Choose something that you are able to have control over your choice. Explain what it is that you have chosen to do and identify what it is that you value.


The media has an important impact on what we value.

Lesson 11 Language Arts, Art


Advance Preparation:

  • Keep a running list of slogans/jingles you hear often on television.
  • Gather popular magazines with advertisements for children who may not have any at home.
  • Gather magazines like "Parent" where babies would be featured.
  • Gather art supplies to make collages.

Activities: Lesson 11

  • Ask the students if they know any jingles or slogans from advertisements. Count how many they can remember; i.e. Coke - it's the real thing, Pepsi - Uh Huh..., etc.
  • Have students cut out five advertisements from magazines or watch television for 30 minutes, paying attention to the commercials. What messages are given in the commercials/advertisements. (You need this product to be beautiful/handsome, to be successful, to be popular, etc.)
  • Explain that advertising is a multi-million dollar industry. Companies are interested in ways to advertise so a consumer will buy their product. They realize people want to look young, attractive, have wealth, or status. It is important for us to realize what advertisers are doing so we can make satisfying, informed decisions.
  • Using magazines that show babies, calculate how many times babies are shown breastfeeding versus bottlefeeding. What message do you think is being sent? Why do you think advertisers want people to believe their message?
  • Identify "pressures" that advertisers place on us like you've got to be thin, cool, young, sexy, etc. Discuss whether the products being advertised can actually make us thin, cool, young, sexy, etc. What can we do to be more aware of this pressure and resist it? (Just being aware of this fact helps. Ask yourself can it really do what the ad says?)


Make a collage showing ads that pressure the consumer to buy a product that really will not do what it promises.