Medela Cares is a continuation of the company's long history of caring for moms, babies, communities and our environment. These programs are an authentic, integrated expression of Medela's Destiny Statement supported through corporate social responsibility with mission-aligned partners.
In 2018, Medela Cares donated more than $250,000 in product to nonprofit partners. Through this ongoing work, Medela Cares has provided breastfeeding support to more than 135 nonprofit organizations across the United States, giving more than $1,000,000 since beginning in 2015.
Ronald McDonald House Charities®
With nearly 40% of the families served by RMHC® caring for babies in the NICU, Medela works with local Houses to support those mothers who choose to breastfeed their babies. In an effort to provide greater ease and comfort to RMHC families, while reducing the stress of having a baby in the NICU, Medela provides moms with the same high-quality equipment they use at the hospital for their stay at a Ronald McDonald House® and give families caring for a baby in the NICU one less thing to worry about.
To date, Medela has provided more than 200 hospital-grade, multi-user breast pumps to Ronald McDonald Houses across the country.
March of Dimes® March for Babies®
In the U.S., Medela believes in the March of Dimes mission to help moms have full-term pregnancies and research the problems that threaten the health of babies.
Medela employees annually participate in the March for Babies walks, and participating in fundraising efforts to benefit March of Dimes’ research to find the unknown causes of premature birth and birth defects. Since 2004, Medela has raised more than $200,000 for the March for Babies program.
To support new mothers on their breastfeeding journey, Medela has partnered with GOOD+ Foundation and Nurse Family Partnership to provide support for at-risk expectant and new mothers with a focus on providing support and building necessary skills for successfully staying in the workforce as a new mother.
Medela has provided breast pumps and bilingual breastfeeding education to benefit low-income mothers and children across the country to help them prepare for a new baby. Since 2010, Medela and its sister brands have support GOOD+ Foundation with financial and product donations totaling nearly $3.4 million. This total amount includes more than 2,000 breast pumps given to new breastfeeding mothers.
A fundamental part of Medela’s commitment to the environment includes participation in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WasteWise program, the country’s first national voluntary solid waste reduction program. WasteWise encourages organizations to reduce municipal solid waste through prevention, recycling, and buying or manufacturing recycled options. As a member since 2009, Medela has established new waste prevention activities, as well as expanded and improved upon current recycling efforts.
As part of our commitment to the environment, Medela Recycles launched in 2015 to provide moms with an easy and environmentally-friendly solution to properly dispose of their breast pump. This program has successfully recycled more than 29,000 breast pumps! Learn more about Medela Recycles
Advocacy & Government Affairs
Medela is committed to supporting breast milk feeding. As part of this commitment, we work actively to protect and expand access to breast milk feeding supplies, education and support for all mothers across the United States. We do this by actively speaking with congressional leaders, advocates, healthcare professionals and communities about the importance of breast milk and encouraging mothers and their care circles in their decision to provide their babies with breast milk.
2021: Supporting Breastfeeding Families Impacted by Disasters
As part of our ongoing efforts to support breastfeeding families, in early 2019 Medela learned through the Alabama Breastfeeding Committee how FEMA disaster coordinators were not prepared to offer breastfeeding support to disaster-displaced families. In collaboration with the Alabama Breastfeeding Committee, Medela took action and raised this issue with congressional leaders, including Representative Herrera Beutler, Representative Roybal Allard and Representative Underwood. They responded with FY22 House Homeland Security Appropriations language directing FEMA to provide breastfeeding support and supplies to families in need after future disasters. Senator Duckworth is taking a lead on this issue in the U.S. Senate and Medela continues to track the language through the lawmaking process.
Congress must pass the FY 2022 Homeland Security funding bill before it is signed into law by the President.
2019: Maternal and Infant Mortality
Recent research notes that Chicago had a higher rate of infant mortality than the rest of the U.S. in 2015, at 5.9 deaths per 1,000 live births (compared to 7.9).* We also know that black women today are three to four times more likely to die as a result of pregnancy, compared to white women.** This reality is unacceptable. At Medela, it is our view that breast milk feeding and access to breast milk in critical care situations is only a small part of what can make a big difference in the lives of families, the long-term well-being of babies, and our community.
This fall, Medela partnered with the March of Dimes and University of Chicago/UIC Health to host a panel discussion in Chicago with local clinicians, to bring awareness and enact change in maternal and infant health outcomes. This event was attended by more than 250 members of the community.
2019: Honoring Family-Friendly Workplaces Act
Returning to work after having a baby is a complicated transition for a mom and her employer. At Medela, we believe parents should not have to choose between going back to work or continuing to feed their babies breast milk. Senator Tammy Duckworth from our home state of Illinois invited Melissa Gonzales, executive vice president of Medela for the Americas, to participate in the Senator’s 2019 press conference announcing the Honoring Family-Friendly Workplaces Act. If signed into law, the bill would create a program that recognizes employers committed to helping employees balance workplace responsibilities and family obligations.
2018: Informing U.S. policy maker decisions
Medela has actively worked to provide clinical and educational resources to inform policy maker decisions. Below is a summary of activities in 2018. Maternal and Infant Mortality Every year, an estimated 500 babies born in Alabama will not live to see their first birthday.1,2 Deaths under one year of age per 1,000 live births, known as the infant mortality rate, is the second highest in the country and even more staggering for black babies.3 Around 15 out of every 1,000 black babies born in Alabama will not make it through their first year of life,4 triple the rate of white babies and comparable with the likes of Vietnam and Honduras.5 In 2018, Medela partnered with the March of Dimes to host a panel event in Birmingham, Alabama with local clinical experts to have an informed discussion about infant and maternal health outcomes in Birmingham and the impact on the community.
1. http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2016/11/alabama_infant_mortality_almos.html. Accessed Aug 30, 2017
3. https://www.statista.com/statistics/252064/us-infant-mortality-rate-by-ethnicity-2011/. Accessed Aug 30, 2017
5. https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.IMRT.IN?year_high_desc=false Accessed Aug 30, 2017
2018: Human Milk and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)
In 2018, Medela provided evidence to congressional leaders showing how infants with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) benefit from access to breast milk. NAS is a term for withdrawal symptoms infants may experience because of prenatal use of opioids or other substances by their mothers.6 Breast milk reduces the duration and cost of treatment associated with NAS, in addition to protecting infants from the most common and costly illnesses and conditions experienced during the first year of life. 7-11 Currently, this evidence is under review by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Read more about NAS and how human milk can help here.
For additional context, learn why human milk is needed for treating NAS here.
Read the October 2017 report from the General Accountability Office.
For more information about the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opiod Recovery and Treatment (SUPPOR) for Patients and Communities ACT (P.L. 115-271), see this article.
6. The Helping to End Addiction and Lessen (HEAL) Substance Use Disorders Act of 2018. Section 201: Caring Recovery for Infants and Babies.
8. Meier PP, Bode L. Health, nutrition, and cost outcomes of human milk feedings for very low birthweight infants. Adv Nutr. Nov 2013;4(6):670-671
9. Johnson TJ, Patel AL, Bigger HR, Engstrom JL, Meier PP. Economic benefits and costs of human milk feedings: a strategy to reduce the risk of prematurity-related morbidities in very-low-birth-weight infants. Adv Nutr. 2014;5(2):207-212
10. Vohr BR, Poindexter BB, Dusick AM, et al. Persistent beneficial effects of breast milk ingested in the neonatal intensive care unit on outcomes of extremely low birth weight infants at 30 months of age. Pediatrics. Oct 2007;120(4):e953-959
11. AAP. Breastfeeding and the use of human milk. Pediatrics. Mar 2012;129(3):e827-841
2017 Update: Educating U.S. policy makers
Research shows that breastfeeding is advantageous beyond its nutritional benefits; it protects the baby against infection, regulates and enhances the physiological systems of the mom and baby, and facilitates maternal-infant bonding. We believe that greater education and awareness among policymakers can lead to reduced healthcare costs and improved outcomes for mothers and babies.
U.S. Congressional Briefing
2017 Image: Medela and the March of Dimes worked together with the Congressional Caucus on Maternity Care to organize a bipartisan congressional staff briefing on breastfeeding.
Medela began engaging congressional offices, federal agencies, and stakeholder groups in Washington, D.C. about the importance of breast milk feeding and its economic impacts. Medela believes that comprehensive lactation support services should include access to all the counseling, education, and breast milk feeding equipment and supplies needed during the antenatal, perinatal, and postpartum stages to ensure the successful initiation and maintenance of breastfeeding. To bring awareness to this important issue, Medela partnered with the March of Dimes to host a congressional briefing in Washington, D.C. where a panel of physicians discussed various aspects of human milk. The briefing was attended by more than 50 people representing congressional offices and other organizations active in health policy discussions.
Access the information we share with policymakers.
Read more about the impacts of comprehensive breastfeeding support on health insurance premiums here.
WIC Program Cost Savings
In 2017, Medela advocated for legislative language which requested the Economic Research Service (ERS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to assess health and economic impacts of clinically recommended breastfeeding rates on the WIC population. In February 2019, the ERS released the report estimating that clinically recommended breastfeeding rates among WIC enrollees could reduce current and future health-related costs for the program’s mothers and infants by as much as $1.5 billion. The ERS also found that annual health-related cost savings accruing to WIC households, or their non-Medicaid health insurance providers, could reach up to $9 billion.
Medicaid Program Cost Savings
Medela led an effort to educate Congress about Medicaid cost savings that would result from better breast milk feeding outcomes. U.S. Representative Terri Sewell (AL) provided 2017 testimony to the House Committee on Appropriations detailing how increased breastfeeding rates in the Medicaid population could result in up to $518.8 million dollars in cost savings per year. These savings would accrue through reductions of common conditions, often experienced in the first year of life, that decrease as breastfeeding rates increase.
For more information, see package 236-241 here.