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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UTHealth: First of Its Kind Research Evaluates Worksite Lactation Support Initatives

Researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health recently released a study that identifies and describes statewide worksite breastfeeding initiatives.  The study, the first of its kind, was led by the UTHealth School of Public Health’s Michael and Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living and published in the Journal of Human Lactation.

“By providing flexibility in scheduling and a private place to express breast milk, an employer can help a woman to meet her personal breastfeeding goals. We knew that Texas has had an initiative to recognize supportive employers for several decades, and we were interested to learn if other states had similar initiatives,” said the study’s senior author Dr. Courtney Byrd-Williams.

Despite the numerous health benefits for both mother and baby associated with breastfeeding, only 26 states were identified as having any form of worksite lactation support initiatives.

Research was conducted by interviewing participants designated as breastfeeding experts from all 50 states, as well as Washington, DC. Experts in states with a recognized initiative were asked to provide information regarding its background, structure, and requirements. Initiatives were evaluated on eight minimum specified requirements, including a private space to express milk, flexible work schedule, written policy, verbal agreement, sink access, communication of provisions to employees, breastfeeding support resources, and a space to store breast milk.

Co-authors include Dr. Amanda Reat; Ms. Krystin J. Matthews; Ms. Alma E. Carver; Ms. Cristell A. Perez; and Ms. Julie Stagg.

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