A workplace lactation program that Corporate Voices for Working Families is launching in conjunction with Abbott Nutrition and Working Mother Media is featured in the November issue of the Sloan Work and Family Research Network News.
Here’s the article, written by Donna Klein, president and founder of Corporate Voices:
Corporate Voices for Working Families, Abbott Nutrition and Working Mother Media are working together to help solve a problem facing many working mothers– the need for breastfeeding support in the workplace.
The three organizations, in partnership with other companies, have launched an outreach program aimed at giving employers the information and tools they need to establish workplace lactation programs. A key component of the outreach effort — Workplace Lactation Programs: Good for Working Families, Good for Business– is a Workplace Lactation Toolkit.
The Toolkit, available [later in December] on the Corporate Voices for Working Families website, is designed to help front-line managers implement lactation programs and educate hourly and lower-wage employees on good choices about infant nutrition. Material contained in the Toolkit is available in both English and Spanish.
Implementing lactation programs and providing workplace support to hourly and lower-wage employees benefits working mothers and businesses, yet establishing these programs can be challenging. In a July 2008 survey of the Working Mother Magazine 100 Best Companies, more than one-third of employers said there are real barriers to implementing lactation programs for hourly and lower-wage employees. These barriers include scheduling conflicts, lack of dedicated lactation rooms and limited promotion of lactation benefits to hourly employees.
While benefiting working mothers and families, workplace lactation programs also contribute directly to financial results. Companies report that workplace lactation programs lower health care costs and improve employee morale, loyalty, productivity and retention. More specifically, the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee reports that for every $1 employers invest in workplace lactation programs, they can gain back $3 in reduced health care costs, averaging $400 per baby during the first year.
The benefits of workplace lactation programs for employers are clear. When women breastfeed, babies and mothers may be healthier, they miss less work-time and employee satisfaction and productivity can increase. Extending workplace lactation programs to all employees is a challenge worth meeting; this new program offers tools to help.