Plans with your Employer
You may think there is nothing in the
world more mortifying than saying the word "breast" in front of
your boss, but if this is going to work for you, you'll have to
do it at least once. Here are some tools to make it easier for
you. It may be that many women have pumped at work before you,
and all you need to do is arrange your break times with your
boss. Or, you may be the one paving the way, and you'll have to
convince your boss that allowing you time to pump is a wise
economic decision for his or her bottom line. In either case,
you and your boss can feel better knowing that helping you
continue breastfeeding will save you both money, and contribute
to a happier, healthier workforce
What you'll need to breastfeed
This page contains a list of what you'll need for breastfeeding
at work. You can print this out and give it to your employer.
A letter from your baby's physician
This is a letter you can print out and have your pediatrician
sign. It states that your doctor recommends that you continue
providing breastmilk to your baby after you return to work.
Here is a sampling of the statistical support for supporting
working and breastfeeding mothers:
- Companies that have adopted
breastfeeding support programs have noted cost savings of $3
per $1 invested in breastfeeding support (1).
- Parental absenteeism is three
times higher for formula-fed infants as compared to
breastfed babies (3,4)
- Excess use of health care services
attributable to formula feeding costs an HMO between $331
and $475 per never-breastfed infant (2)
- Insurers pay at least $3.6 billion
each year to treat diseases and conditions preventable by
- Companies with an employee
lactation support program experience less turnover and lower
losses of skilled workers after childbirth. Additionally,
these companies are rewarded with higher employee
satisfaction, loyalty, and morale (1)
- The American Academy of Pediatrics
recommends that mothers breastfeed exclusively for the first
six months, and continue breastfeeding with the addition of
complementary foods until the baby is at least one year old
- The Department of Health and Human
Services stresses the importance of facilitating the
continuation of breastfeeding after mothers return to their
jobs (6, 7)
1) United States Breastfeeding Committee. Workplace
Breastfeeding Support [issue paper]. Raleigh, NC: United States
Breastfeeding Committee; 2002.
2) United States Breastfeeding Committee. Economic Benefits of
Breastfeeding [issue paper]. Raleigh, NC: United States
Breastfeeding Committee; 2002.
3) Cohen, R. Mrtek, MB, Mrtek RG. American Journal of Health
Promotion 1995; 10:148-5
4) Ball T, Wright A. Health Care Costs of Formula-feeding in the
First Year of Life. Pediatrics. Volume 103, Number 4, April
5) American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement,
“Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk.” Pediatrics 97; 100:6.
6) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. HHS Blueprint
for Action on Breastfeeding, Washington, D.C. U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health, 2000.
7) United States Breastfeeding Committee (2001). Breastfeeding
in the United States: A National Agenda. Rockville MD: U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and
Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
Originally compiled by the Wisconsin State Breastfeeding
Several states have put together very
nice online packages for supporting working mothers who are
breastfeeding. The following links take you to some of these
The Wisconsin "breastfeeding-friendly communities"
The Texas "Mother-Friendly Worksite" program
The Washington State Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition