How Supportive Is Your Workplace for Breastfeeding Moms?
(July 19, 2002)
The Allegheny County Health Department is accepting nominations from employees and employers alike for its seventh annual Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace Award.
The award honors employers who accommodate breastfeeding mothers and offer support and encouragement that make it possible to continue breastfeeding once they return to work.
“A mother’s decision to continue breastfeeding often depends on workplace conditions,” said County Health Director Dr. Bruce W. Dixon. “While 64% breastfeed at birth, only 29% still do so six months later, due in part to a lack of employer support when they go back to work.”
Employers can help by offering flex time or extended paid maternity leave; a health plan with breast pump coverage; work site day care; permission to breastfeed at work; or simply a place and time at work for pumping and storing breast milk.
Studies show babies breastfed for six months or longer derive greater health benefits from breastfeeding. It’s good for business too, because breastfed babies are less likely to get sick throughout childhood and that means lower absentee rates for working moms and dads due to a child’s illness.
Last year’s award winners were PNC Financial Services Group in downtown Pittsburgh in the large work site category and the environmental consulting firm of Crouse & Company in Monroeville among small work sites.
To nominate an employer for this year’s award, please call the Allegheny County Health Department at 412-687-ACHD. Nominations will be accepted until July 26.