The Benefits of Breastfeeding: What Moms and Employers Need to Know

The benefits of breastfeeding for mom and baby are well documented. Breast milk helps protect babies from a variety of illnesses, such as SIDs, asthma, ear infections, and lower respiratory infections. And it doesn't stop there. Moms also see benefits, healing more quickly from childbirth, and seeing a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, certain types of breast cancer, and ovarian cancer following childbirth.

But did you also know that there are many benefits for employers who support their breastfeeding moms? Lower turnover rates, fewer missed days of work, and decreased healthcare costs are just a few of the reasons that employers are paying attention to how they can support this important, and growing, part of their workforce. Oh, and by the way, many times it's the law.

Unfortunately, many breastfeeding and pumping moms still face many challenges when going back to work. Inadequate or non-existent places to pump, no clear company policy related to maternity leave and pumping when they return, and managers who do not know how to start the conversation are all too common.

With the passage of the ACA, FLSA protections, and better education, we have made great strides in the number of moms successfully breastfeeding, but there is still work to be done. A recent survey showed that over 62% of expectant moms felt there is a stigma attached to moms who breastfeed. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Every company, and every working mom, can take steps to ensure that the needed support is there before, and after, baby is born.

What Employers Can Do:

  • Write a clear and comprehensive Breastfeeding and Pumping policy.

  • Create a comfortable, safe place for pumping.

  • Allow flexible breaks for mothers to express breast milk every 2 to 3 hours.

  • Create a positive and supportive environment - this starts from the top down.

  • Ask your moms what they need.

What Moms Can Do:

  • Know your rights and breastfeeding laws, and be ready to educate your company about the benefits of breastfeeding for mom, baby, and employers.

  • Confide with other moms who have breastfed to see what their experience was like.

  • Set a meeting up with your manager or HR representative to discuss your breastfeeding intentions and to determine what policies are already in place, ideally before you take maternity leave.

  • Provide a list of what you need to successfully pump.

  • Practice having the conversation in advance so you don’t get nervous or write down a list of your talking points.

Use our flipbook to learn more, including a checklist for employers, breastfeeding in unconventional workplaces, and additional benefits of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding In The Workplace