A large majority of American babies are breastfed. Employers must be prepared to make lactation-related accommodations for employees who breastfeed their babies when they return to work. Lactating parents who are away from their babies need to express milk (typically using a breast pump) on roughly the same schedule as the child’s feeding schedule to maintain their milk production and avoid health complications, like infections. This means that breastfeeding employees must be given breaks every few hours throughout the workday and be allowed to use a clean, private space – preferably one with a comfortable chair and an electrical outlet – where they can express milk.
By adopting breastfeeding-friendly policies, employers can ensure that they are in compliance with federal and state laws, as well as improve employee retention and productivity, reduce the use of sick days, and lower health care and insurance costs.
Practical Resources for Accommodating Breastfeeding Employees
- Supporting Nursing Moms At Work: Employer Solutions. [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.] This guide provides detailed, illustrated, industry-specific solutions for the challenge of finding appropriate private space and time for breastfeeding employees to express milk.
- Easy Steps to Supporting Breastfeeding Employees. [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.] Looking to adopt a breastfeeding support program but not sure where to start? This guide walks you through the entire process, from pilot study to implementation.