With the many advantages of breastfeeding babies, many working moms are finding that their employers have opted to show support for breastfeeding employees by complying with the federal “Break Time for Nursing Mothers” law.
This law stipulates that businesses provide a lactation room or clean private space that is not a bathroom, as well as work breaks for nursing mothers to pump breast milk. The Mary Amelia Douglas-Whited Community Women’s Health Education Center at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine deems these businesses “Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplaces.”
[Photo: Working moms benefit from the federal “Nursing Mothers” law. The Mary Amelia Center and the Louisiana Breastfeeding Coalition are campaigning to encourage employers to provide a breastfeeding-friendly environment when moms return to work]
The Mary Amelia Center and the Louisiana Breastfeeding Coalition have spearheaded an awareness campaign to encourage employers to provide a breastfeeding-friendly environment when moms return to work. The result: This year 24 additional businesses in the greater New Orleans area earned the distinction of becoming designated as Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplaces, and that number is consistently growing.
“We also encourage businesses to ensure that there is a sink nearby to clean breast pump parts and to communicate their commitment to breastfeeding support to all employees,” says Ms. Caitrin H. Alb, breastfeeding initiatives manager at the Mary Amelia Center.
The center has a list of Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplaces listed on its website. The list includes businesses based in New Orleans and throughout Louisiana.
Many businesses have raised the bar by becoming Breastfeeding-Friendly Champions, which means in addition to complying with the law, they have made breastfeeding literature a part of their written employee policies, such as a handbook or notice posted in the break room.
Those businesses wanting to become Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplaces can visit the Mary Amelia Center website and fill out the short application to be designated as a Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace or Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Champion.
To assist, the Louisiana Workplace Breastfeeding Support Program provides small grants, sample policies and other resources to those businesses that need assistance to qualify.