FARGO, ND (Valley News Live) – Fargo Cass Public Health has just launched the “Infant Friendly February” campaign to encourage companies to apply for Breastfeeding Support Workplace designation.
More than 50 companies already have the designation, but Public Health wants that number to grow. The goal is to have 62 companies designated by the end of 2022.
Designation is free, and grants of up to $500 are available to make workplaces more comfortable for breastfeeding mothers. To be eligible, businesses must have a policy in place.
“The policy should state that there is a flexible schedule for mothers to express at work, that there is a private space that is not a bathroom, and that there is access to a sink and somewhere to temporarily store the milk,” says Public Health Nutritionist Michelle Draxton.
Public health data shows that 80% of new mothers in North Dakota leave the hospital to breastfeed, proving that mothers want to breastfeed. But the stress of returning to work can be difficult.
“We are seeing a significant decrease in the number of breastfeeding mothers at three months postpartum. And research also shows us that some mothers won’t even start breastfeeding or will intentionally stop breastfeeding early because they know they’re going back to work and they don’t have that support in place.
Draxton says that’s great for new moms and babies, but employers reap some of the benefits too.
“Lower healthcare costs, lower turnover rates, lower absenteeism from mothers and fathers, it improves employee morale, which is great for retention and it can even be a great recruitment strategy which, with this that we’re seeing with the current work environment,” Draxton mentioned.
Sample policies, the application and a list of designated companies can be found HERE.
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