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Support for Breastfeeding Mothers

Support for breastfeeding mothers includes a range of benefits:

  • writing corporate policies to support breastfeeding women;
  • teaching employees about breastfeeding;
  • providing designated private space for breastfeeding or expressing milk;
  • allowing flexible scheduling during work;
  • providing high-quality breast pumps and offering professional lactation management services and support.

Other policies outlined throughout this report also help to support breastfeeding mothers, including giving mothers flexible options for returning to work, such as teleworking, part-time work, and extended paid parental leave; and providing on-site or near-site childcare.

Benefits to Employers

  • Increases retention, reducing turnover costs
  • Provides a three to one return on investment, largely from health care costs savings
  • Reduces employee absenteeism

Benefits to Children

  • Reduces infant mortality
  • Breastfeeding lowers child’s risk of ear infections, respiratory infections, diarrhea, dermatitis, gastrointestinal disorders, asthma (young children), obesity, certain childhood cancers, and types 1 and 2 diabetes
  • Increases parent-child bonding
  • Reduces doctor and hospital visits

Benefits to Parents/Families

  • Breastfeeding lower mother’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
  • Improves family economic security

Range of Practices in the United States

Approximately 49 percent of workplaces have a dedicated lactation/mothers’ room, and 11 percent of workplaces offer lactation support services, including counseling and education.

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