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Breastfeeding Benefits Our Community

Michelle Draxten, MPH, RD, Public Health Nutritionist, Fargo Cass Public Health

“My [breastfeeding] goal is a year, and as my son is 10 months old, we are getting close. I cannot say enough about how having that [designated nursing] space and [employer] support has absolutely impacted my breastfeeding journey. I appreciate it more than I could say!” – Melissa, City of Fargo staff

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed (receive no other complementary foods or beverage) for the first six months with continued breastfeeding for a year and beyond, if desired by mother and baby.1 Breastfeeding protects babies from illnesses including ear infections, diarrhea and vomiting, obesity, SIDS and diabetes among others.  Moms also benefit and have a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer (certain types) and ovarian cancer.2 

These health benefits for mom and baby are well-known.  Businesses that support breastfeeding employees also benefit. With approximately 58% of moms with children under the age of one in the workforce,3 businesses play an important role in supporting their breastfeeding employees in meeting their breastfeeding goals.

Breastfeeding Works

Businesses can see a return of $3 for every $1 spent on breastfeeding support.4 Those with lactation support programs have lower healthcare costs, reduced absenteeism, an employee recruitment incentive, and increased employee retention and productivity. Businesses can properly support breastfeeding employees by offering a flexible work schedule for moms to express milk at work, provide education for all staff on the business breastfeeding policy, as well as education for expecting moms on how to effectively combine work and breastfeeding, and provide an appropriate space (not a bathroom) for moms to express milk. A common barrier among businesses in adequately supporting employees is lack of space. However, Federal law mandates that businesses support their breastfeeding employees, so let’s get creative. 

In addition to work setting, a faith-based community setting is an excellent place to support breastfeeding mothers.

Nursing Room Essentials

  • Space (can be as small as 4 feet by 5 feet, but cannot be a bathroom)
  • Lockable door
  • Chair
  • Small table
  • Electrical outlet
  • Access to clean sink
  • Access to refrigerator/cooler

Nursing Room Added Perks  

  • Breastfeeding resources
  • Magazines, books
  • Soap and towels/sanitizer
  • Bulletin board
  • Comment box
  • Footstool
  • Music
  • Mirror

 

Sources

  1. American Academy of Pediatrics. Breastfeeding Initiatives. Retrieved from https://www2.aap.org/breastfeeding/faqsbreastfeeding.html
  2. Womenshealth.gov
  3. Bureau of Labor and Statistics
  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2008). The business case for breastfeeding. Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Retrieved from http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/governmentin-action/business-case-for-breastfeeding/business-case-for-breastfeeding-for-business-managers.pdf
Filed under: fca newsletter

Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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