Food and Feeding
- Benefits of being a breastfeeding-friendly employer
- How to become a breastfeeding-friendly employer
- Resources and more information
- Application for joining the project
Becoming a breastfeeding friendly employer carries many benefits for employers, mothers and children. Studies show that employers who provide a breastfeeding-friendly workplace reap the rewards, including:
- Reduced staff turnover and increased retention of skilled workers after the birth of their child.
- Reduced leave time for parents of breastfed infants who are more resistant to illness.
- Lower and fewer health care costs associate with healthier breastfed infants.
- Higher job productivity, employee satisfaction and morale.
- Enhanced loyalty among employees.
- Added recruitment incentives for women.
- Improved positive image in the community.
- Healthier workforce for the future.
For a referenced handout on the specific financial benefits to employers, download the handout, The Business Case for Breastfeeding (pdf)
Download the Breastfeeding-Friendly Employer Checklist (pdf) to determine your company's level of recognition, or use it as a guideline for setting up a new lactation support program.
There are many ways in which employers can support breastfeeding women in the workplace
- Create a workplace environment that supports and respects a woman’s decision to breastfeed. Recognize that breastfeeding is a benefit to the workplace and encourage that recognition in others.
- Develop a written policy that states your company’s support of a woman’s choice to breastfeed her infant(s) and describes the worksite accommodations and/or benefits available to her.
- Make the policy part of your company’s written policies on parenting and/or maternity benefits.
- Inform all pregnant employees/parents of this policy as early in their pregnancy as possible.
- Inform new employees of this policy or give them a copy as part of new employee orientation.
- Provide a 20- to 30-minute break, both morning and afternoon, for the woman to (a) nurse her infant or (b) express her milk. If necessary, adjust the beginning and/or ending time of work to accommodate these breaks. For example, if two 15-minute breaks are allowed to all employees, the breastfeeding employee starts work 10 minutes earlier and leaves work 10 minutes later to allow for two 25-minute breaks.
- Make a private area available for nursing or expressing milk. It should be quiet, clean and have enough room for a comfortable chair.
- Provide a place for storing breast milk. If a refrigerator is not available, a safe place to keep a cooler is sufficient.
- Provide a clean, safe water source and sink somewhere within the worksite for washing hands and rinsing out any breast pump equipment.
- Explore childcare options such as on-site childcare or subsidized care at nearby childcare centers. Consider accessibility to childcare in facility planning.
- Provide options for breastfeeding employees such as part-time employment, job sharing, flex schedules and/or a gradual return to work.
- Allow the nursing infant to be brought to work or allow the employee to leave the workplace to breastfeed her infant. This is important when there is no on-site childcare and when the employee must return to work prior to the minimum six-week period needed to fully establish breastfeeding.
Provide a breastfeeding education and support system through one or more of the following:
- Written educational handouts/pamphlets/books.
- On-site maternity/postpartum/breastfeeding mother support group.
- Lactation consultant services, either paid for or provided on-site
- Business Case for Breastfeeding (pdf) - a referenced document outlining the financial benefits to companies who provide lactation support to their employees.
- Sample Text for Workplace Breastfeeding Policy (pdf)
- Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Checklist (pdf) - use this checklist to build your lactation support program, or to determine your level of recognition as a breastfeeding-friendly employer
Support your employees and get acknowledged! All employers who join will be recognized for their efforts and will receive a certificate of achievement. Please submit the checklist with your application so that appropriate recognition can be given.
- Application form (pdf)
- To obtain an application by mail, contact:
P.O. Box 70, Burlington, VT 05402-0070
Breastfeeding-friendly employers are recognized annually during World Breastfeeding Week in August.