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Fill-in-Blank News Release for County Health Departments

For Release: _____, 2006
Contact: __________
_____ County Health Department
(Phone)

Breastfeeding and Employment: Making It Work

The _____ County Health Department’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program will observe World Breastfeeding Week Aug. 1-7. This year’s theme is Support the Working Breastfeeding Mother. This theme encourages women who return to their jobs from maternity leave to continue to breastfeed their infants, and it supports those employers who provide their employees with the resources they need to continue to breastfeed.

“Recent legislation passed in Oklahoma supports the efforts of women in the workplace who choose to express their milk and nurse their babies once they return to work. This year’s legislation encourages businesses to support mothers who use their work breaks and lunch time to express breastmilk to feed their babies. We hope this will encourage more businesses to be baby-friendly,” said _____ County Health Department Administrative Director _____.

Women with infants and children are the fastest growing group of the U.S. labor force. Among employed women with children under age 3, approximately 70 percent work full time. Of mothers who choose not to breastfeed, one-third cite returning to work or school as the reason. Mothers who are breastfeeding may face harassment, discrimination and punishment for trying to express milk for their infants during their breaks and at lunch time.

Supporting breastfeeding has multiple benefits to employers including:

  • Improved employee productivity.
  • Increased job satisfaction.
  • Improved employee retention.
  • Reduced health care costs.
  • A family-friendly image in the community.
  • Reduced number of sick days to care for ill children. Breastfed babies are healthier, have fewer infections, and require fewer days in the hospital than formula-fed babies.

Employers can reduce many workplace challenges with a small investment of time, flexibility, and money by providing a clean, private space that is not a bathroom in order for their employees to express milk. The room should have an electrical outlet and a comfortable chair with a table. Providing a sink for hand washing and a refrigerator for milk storage are helpful, but not required for a “breastfeeding room.”

Local employers who have breastfeeding rooms to support working, breastfeeding mothers include _____, _____, _____, and _____.

For more information about working and breastfeeding, contact the _____ County Health Department WIC Clinic at (phone number) or call the statewide WIC nutrition line at 1-888-655-2942, extension 11258.

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