Corporate Lactation Programs
Corporate lactation programs provide support and services for working mothers who have chosen to breastfeed or express milk for their babies. Although these programs are designed to help the mother, they also provide many benefits to the employer who offers the program.
When working for a company with a lactation program, mothers generally return to work sooner after maternity leave. Additionally, mothers who feed their children breastmilk have fewer work absences related to infant sickness and make fewer medical claims each year because breastfed babies are healthier.
Employers who offer lactation programs also see an increase in employee productivity, morale and loyalty because the women feel supported in their decision to breastfeed and valued as an employee.
Developing a Lactation Program
Designate a Private Pumping Room
– The room should have a door that locks from the inside and have access to an electrical outlet. A table for setting the breast pump on and a comfortable chair for the mother to sit in should also be provided. Restrooms are not considered appropriate accommodations for expressing breastmilk. Consider using an unused office or conference room.
Quality, Electric Breast Pumps
– There are two options available when it comes to providing breast pumps for your employees. The first option is purchase a hospital grade pump that all mothers can use with their own pump kit. The second option is to purchase or subsidize the cost of personal electric breast pumps for each mother as needed. Either option will provide mothers with a pump that will express milk efficiently throughout the day.
Professional Lactation Consultant Services
– The services of a certified lactation consultant can help mothers adjust during the early stages of breastfeeding and make the transition from home to work less stressful. The International Lactation Consultant Association has a directory that makes it easy to find practicing consultants in your area.
Educational Breastfeeding Materials –
Lactation Room packages are available through La Leche League International . These packages come in sizes to properly accommodate businesses of all sizes and include breastfeeding books, pamphlets and videos.
Optional Ways to Enhance the Lactation Room
- Baby inspired décor
- Area for mothers to display baby photos
- Refrigerator for milk storage
- Relaxing music
- Sink with hot running water for cleaning up
- Space for storing pumps or pump kits
Is Special Storage Needed for Expressed Milk?
According to both OSHA and the US Center for Disease Control, there are no special handling or storage requirements for breastmilk. As long as milk is stored in a tightly closed container, it can be stored in a common refrigerator or freezer that is used by others in the workplace.
Although expressed breastmilk does not pose any risks to others, some employees may be resistant to have it stored in a common refrigerator with their lunch. To ease any concerns milk can be place is a secondary, opaque container.
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