In recognition of World Breastfeeding Month in August, we want to highlight the challenge facing working moms who want to give their babies the affordable and irreplaceable health benefits of breast milk. Breastfeeding for at least a year is proven to give children a healthier start to life, reducing their risk of short and long term health problems including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), ear and respiratory infections, obesity, diabetes and some childhood cancers.
Establishing a breastfeeding routine can be very difficult for moms who do not have the time, space and support to express milk while they are at work. This issue spurred the Colorado Workplace Accommodations for Nursing Mothers Act, which requires employers of one or more employees to make a reasonable effort to provide mothers with paid or unpaid break time and a private place (that is not a bathroom) to express breast milk. The law applies for two years after a baby’s birth.
Taking the time and effort to support breastfeeding employees often results in business benefits including lower turnover, higher employee productivity and loyalty and lower healthcare costs and absenteeism. It’s not difficult to accommodate breastfeeding staff; there are many creative ways to arrange a private area to express milk. The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association’s WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program has information and suggestions for how businesses can take these steps. If you would like more information, please call us at 970-871-7677.
Arin Daigneau, RDN, CDE, IBCLC
Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association