BUCYRUS– August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month. All major medical authorities recommend that babies receive human milk for at least the first year of life and beyond. Breastfeeding reduces the baby’s risk of many illnesses and diseases and can also reduce the risk of cancer, Type II diabetes, and heart disease in mothers. The Crawford County Board of Health, in collaboration with their WIC division staff, decided August is also the perfect month to recognize local places of employment that support breastfeeding through policies and lactation accommodations with a Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Champion award.
Returning to work is a major reason for discontinuing breastfeeding. Many employees say they know breastfeeding is best for themselves and their baby. However, it can be challenging to continue after they return to work. Some say they are afraid to ask about expressing milk at work.
“At many workplaces, lactation accommodations for a woman returning to work after having a baby is never discussed until the day she returns. Employer support can make all the difference in a woman’s success to breastfeed her baby,” explains Deanna Grube, lactation consultant at Crawford County WIC. “Free guidance is available for all local businesses on how they can support a nursing mom returning to work. Plus, employers need to remember it is a requirement by law to have a place other than a bathroom for their employees to express milk for their babies. I can easily help businesses understand what they can do to support their employees while being compliant with the law.”
To complement the efforts completed by businesses working with Ms. Grube, the Board of Health established the Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Champion award program. To qualify for the award an employer must have two things:
1. A new, updated lactation support policy (template policies are available), and
2. Provide or upgrade an existing lactation area.
Twenty-four local workplaces were recognized as the inaugural award winners for the Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Champion program. All local businesses are welcome to reach out and learn how they can support their breastfeeding employees. To schedule an appointment to learn how to receive recognition as a Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Champion, contact Deanna Grube at the Crawford County WIC office by calling (419)562-5859.