Simplifying Employers’ Options for Supporting Breast Milk Feeding Moms
Every day I hear stories of working parents – moms and dads balancing conference calls with timing the best time to pump or juggling daycare and dinner with work deadlines. These stories are empowering; yet, too often, there is an underlying sense that working parents lack support where they sometimes need it the most – from their employers.
Sometimes companies don’t even realize the challenges that have an impact on employee retention. I am bolstered when I hear of companies, both large and small, making strides in aspects of family support, including extended maternity and paternity leave, flexible work schedules and onsite childcare. However, one area that still lacks strong support among many companies is that of moms’ return to work after baby.
As an executive at Medela, I strive to support our working moms however possible. With more moms returning to work after having children than ever before, Medela knows the importance of helping moms make the sometimes-difficult transition back to work. My heart goes out to the new moms at various jobs around the world who, having been promised adequate space and break time to pump breast milk, returned to work after maternity leave only to find their “space” was a bathroom stall or broom closet, or they were penalized for taking necessary breaks to pump. On the flip side, many U.S. employers are not aware of existing regulations intended to prevent these situations, and those who are aware may not know how to best implement and follow protocol. We know that supporting breastfeeding contributes to better health outcomes and retention. The Business Case for Breastfeeding, published by the Business Group on Health cites, cites a study of multiple companies with lactation support programs that found an average retention rate of 94 percent.
For these reasons, and many others, I am thrilled about our partnership with Mamava, which helps address many of these issues we see and hear about every day. Kin - Healthy Returns for New Moms makes it easy for U.S. employers to provide solutions for new moms – solutions that include designated breast milk pumping spaces, hospital-grade breast pumps, breast milk shipping and 24/7 virtual support. By making it easy for employers, this level of support will soon become the norm for working moms as we break down traditional barriers to breast milk feeding and pumping at work.
Medela’s primary goal – to help moms successfully breastfeed their babies for as long as they choose – is at the heart of everything we do, and we are excited to see employers across the U.S. embrace this goal with us.
Executive vice president of the Americas