Creating a corporate lactation program requires minimal company resources and helps moms and babies stay healthy, resulting in fewer sick days and health care costs. It sends a message that companies want to help employees balance work and family.
Hard-working professionals often face a tug of war between work and family life. Parents have important obligations aside from being productive in their careers, and for mothers just returning from maternity leave, the balancing act can be even tougher.
In today's economy, employers need to save money, yet keep employees happy and productive. A simple, low-cost benefit that helps family-oriented employees stay content and healthy and improves the bottom line is a corporate lactation program.
Creating a corporate lactation program requires minimal company resources and helps moms and babies stay healthy, resulting in fewer sick days and health care costs.
More importantly, it sends a message that companies want to help employees balance work and family - a benefit that everyone can appreciate.What Is a Lactation Program?
Many new mothers strive to meet the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendation to breast-feed for at least a year because it provides babies with an easier transition from womb to world, improved emotional and physical development, and protection from asthma, inflammatory bowel disease and some childhood cancers.
They also can enjoy a few breast-feeding benefits themselves: help with post-pregnancy weight loss and protection from breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis.
At a minimum, a corporate lactation program allows mothers to breast pump at work in a private room with enough time off during the workday to produce milk. Some employers choose to offer other support, such as equipping the "mothers' room" with a private refrigerator, supplying a hospital-grade breast pump or offering consultation services from a certified lactation specialist.
Originally started in the 1980s by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the initial goal of a lactation program was to reduce absentee rates and employee turnover. As it turned out, offering special support for nursing mothers also reduced health care claim costs for infants whose mothers participated in the program.
In fact, studies have shown that companies with corporate lactation programs reported 27 percent fewer maternal days off and 36 percent fewer infant illnesses. In addition, these programs boost employee morale and acknowledge the difficulties faced by working moms.