Breastfeeding in the Workplace
In 2012, 57% of mothers with infants were employed (US DOL 2012)
Working outside the home is associated with decreased breastfeeding (Ryan, et al., 2006)
Intention to work fulltime is associated with decreased initiation and shorter duration (Mandal et al, 2010)
Worksite lactation programs increase exclusive breastfeeding at 6 months (Balkam, et al., 2011)
The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding (2011) focuses on Employment
o Ensure that employers establish and maintain comprehensive, high-quality lactation support programs
o Expand the use in the workplace of programs that allow nursing mothers direct access to their babies
Workplace Accommodations to Support Breastfeeding
Excerpts from the US Breastfeeding Committee white paper available at:
The Public Health Case for Supporting Employed Women to Breastfeed
Breastfeeding protects infants and children from a host of significant acute and chronic diseases.
Breastfed infants have a reduced risk of obesity throughout the lifespan.
Women who breastfeed also have a reduced risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, postpartum
depression, and cardiovascular disease.
$13 billion of direct health care costs could be saved annually if 90% of women were able to breastfeed
according to medical recommendations.
When mother and infant are separated for more than a few hours, the woman must express milk.
Missing even one needed pumping session can have several undesirable consequences, including discomfort,
leaking, inflammation and infection, decreased supply, and ultimately, breastfeeding cessation.
Lactation programs are cost-effective, showing a $3 return on $1 investment.
By supporting lactation at work, employers can reduce turnover, lowering recruitment and training costs, cut
rates of absenteeism, boost morale and productivity, and reduce health care costs.
Protecting Breastfeeding by Means of Law
The PPACA of 2010 amended the Fair Labor Standards Act. The amendment requires employers to provide
reasonable break time and a private, non-bathroom place for nursing mothers to express breast milk during the
workday, for one year after the child’s birth.
Business Case for Breastfeeding - Developed by Maternal and Child Health Bureau of HRSA
Supporting Nursing Moms at Work Employer Solutions
World Breastfeeding Week – August 1-7, 2015 – Theme “Breastfeeding and Work – Let’s Make it Work!”
National Breastfeeding Month – Every August as proclaimed by the US Breastfeeding Committee, August 6, 2011
o Toolkits and guidelines for senior managers, HR managers, and breastfeeding employees