FMH Offers Employers Workplace Lactation Support
July 30, 2009As World Breastfeeding Week approaches, the Franklin Health Breastfeeding Task Force is bolstering efforts locally to promote breastfeeding by offering support and resources to employers who want to create private breastfeeding areas for new mothers.
Maine passed legislation this past session mandating employers to provide breaks and places for mothers to express milk—specifically excluding toilet stalls. According to Daisy Goodman, CNM, chair of the Task Force, “Employed mothers who are breastfeeding need regular breaks and a clean, private place to use a breast pump. This new law supports mothers returning to the workforce who wish to continue breastfeeding. In the past, employers have been confused by requests for breaks to pump, or reluctant to treat breastfeeding mothers differently than other employees.”
All that is needed to accommodate a mother’s need to pump is a small private space with a chair and an electrical outlet. Supervisors must also support two breaks and a lunch period during a typical eight-hour workday.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all mothers breastfeed their babies exclusively for six months and keep nursing for at least one year. The benefits of breastfeeding children are well documented and include lower risks for ear and respiratory infections, asthma, atopic dermatitis, gastroenteritis, type 2 diabetes, sudden infant death syndrome, and childhood obesity. Even if a mother is able to breastfeed for only a short time, her baby’s immune system will still benefit from breast milk.
“Franklin Memorial Hospital has been a leader in the community by providing a lactation program as a benefit to its employees who are nursing mothers,” said Goodman. “The program, which has been in place for years, provides a “Mother’s Room” for expressing milk in a secure, relaxing environment utilizing hospital-grade breast pumps, and if needed, consultation services by the hospital’s lactation counselors. We are pleased to extend our policy, experience, and resources to area employers, as well as to nursing mothers.”
For assistance in starting a workplace program, employers may contact Cyndi Corey, a certified lactation counselor and home visiting nurse, at 779-2295. Help us celebrate World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7, by becoming an employer that has a workplace breastfeeding program!
The Franklin Health Breastfeeding Task Force has a brown bag luncheon meeting on the second Monday of each month from noon to 1 p.m. in the Family Birthing Unit at Franklin Memorial Hospital. Anyone with an interest in promoting breastfeeding is welcome to attend.
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