Dear Editor,

Each year, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action coordinates World Breastfeeding Week Aug. 1-7. The theme this year is “Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding.” The Breastfeeding Coalition of Jefferson County is taking this opportunity to encourage businesses to support their breastfeeding employees.

Returning to work after having a baby can be a big transition, especially if you are breastfeeding. Breastfeeding through a baby’s first year benefits mom and baby for a lifetime. If a mother chooses to breastfeed, she needs to express breastmilk during the workday in order to maintain her milk supply. Many mothers are afraid to speak to their employers about these needs. One of the most common times women tend to stop breastfeeding is around the time they return to work. To help eliminate this, women need support in the workplace. Breastfeeding Friendly Businesses support their employees by providing privacy and flexibility to express and store breastmilk. Businesses can profit from supporting their employees during breastfeeding. When breastfeeding employees’ physical needs are met, they can better focus on their job responsibilities. The result is improved productivity. Businesses that support mothers who choose to breastfeed their infants experience improved employee morale, increased employee retention, lower absenteeism and reduced health-care costs.

The Fair Labor Stands Act requires employers to provide, “reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk.” Employers are also required to provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.” If an employer has fewer

than 50 employees and can demonstrate that compliance with this law would impose an undue hardship on the employer, that employer does not have to provide nursing breaks, although they would be missing out on the benefits of supporting their breastfeeding employees.

If businesses would like more information on how to become a “Breastfeeding Friendly Business” or have any questions, please contact the Breastfeeding Coalition of Jefferson County at 920-674-7459.

Thank you for your support of breastfeeding in our community.Amber Kruesel, coalition chair

Breastfeeding Coalition of Jefferson County

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