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What is a Mother-Friendly Worksite?
The short answer is—they're the best places to work! A business can become designated as a Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite if it has a written lactation support policy that provides:
- Flexible work schedules, including scheduling breaks and work patterns that provide time for the expression of milk.
- Access to a private location(s), other than a bathroom, where mothers can pump milk.
- Access to a nearby sink with clean water for washing hands and breast pump parts.
- Access to hygienic storage (including a refrigerator or a personal portable cooler) where mothers can safely store breastmilk.
Many businesses also choose to offer additional benefits, such as educational materials, access to lactation consultants, and more. The program is very flexible, and each business can customize its program to meet the needs of the company and its employed mothers.
Why does it matter?
More than half of new mothers who return to work in Texas are unable to reach their breastfeeding goals.1 If a mother chooses to breastfeed, she needs to pump breastmilk during the workday in order to maintain her milk supply. Many moms are afraid to speak to their employers about these needs. Many stop breastfeeding altogether soon after returning to work. The Texas legislature created the Texas-Mother Friendly Worksite initiative to encourage businesses to support breastfeeding employees.
What's in it for the business?
Real-world studies demonstrate the business case for breastfeeding. Businesses with worksite lactation programs experience up to a $3 return for every $1 invested in lactation support. Businesses that support mothers who choose to breastfeed their infants experience improved employee morale, increased employee retention, lower absenteeism, and reduced healthcare costs.2 New mothers whose jobs offer lactation support are more likely to return to work with their employers after birth and report increased loyalty, higher job satisfaction, and better productivity.2
What does it cost?
The designation is free, and businesses can easily and affordably meet the criteria for designation. Many businesses already have some or all of the Mother-Friendly program components in place. Other companies choose to go above and beyond minimum criteria to offer even more comprehensive support to their employees. But the short answer is—it doesn't have to be expensive, especially if you consider the returns that the company receives in terms of employee retention, morale, and productivity.
What can you do to help?
Go to TexasMotherFriendly.org to show your support and find out more. Share the Mother-Friendly business benefits with your boss or HR person, and encourage your business to participate. Many companies say it just took one person asking to start the wheels rolling to put the program in place.
Is Your Workplace
Find out in our Mother Friendly Worksite directory.
1. Texas Department of State Health Services. Texas WIC Infant Feeding Practices Survey. 2009.
2. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The Business Case for Breastfeeding: Steps for Creating a Breastfeeding Friendly Worksite: Bottom Line Benefits. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, HRSA. 2008. Available from: http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/employer-solutions/business-case.html