For Release: August 13, 2009
Contact: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
Oklahoma Worksites Support Nursing Mothers
The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and the State Chamber of Oklahoma announced today that 19 Oklahoma worksites have been recognized as Breastfeeding Friendly Worksites since the program’s inception in February 2008.
Employers are recognized for their assistance in offering their working mothers a Breastfeeding Friendly Worksite and meeting the following minimum criteria for recognition:
• flexible break times to express milk;
• a comfortable location allowing privacy for pumping (other than a toilet stall);
• access to a nearby clean water source and a sink for washing hands and breast pump equipment; and
• a written policy that supports breastfeeding that includes the previous items and describes how all staff are informed of the policy.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants receive only human milk for the first six months of life, and continued breastfeeding with age-appropriate foods for one year or longer,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Terry Cline. “One of the issues involving early weaning is a lack of support when mothers return to work after maternity leave. We encourage employers to consider providing the support needed for mothers to continue breastfeeding through initiatives like the Breastfeeding Friendly Worksite.”
The 19 worksites recognized as Oklahoma Breastfeeding Friendly Worksites include the following:
• Oklahoma Disability Law Center, 2915 N. Classen Blvd., Suite 300, Oklahoma City
• INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center, 3300 NW Expressway, Oklahoma City
• OSDH, 1000 NE 10th Street, Oklahoma City
• OSDH WIC Service, 2401 NW 23rd Street, Suite 70, Oklahoma City
• Center for Children & Families, 1151 East Main, Norman
• YWCA of Oklahoma City, 2460 W. 1-44 Service Road, Oklahoma City
• Payne County Health Department, 1321 W. 7th Ave, Stillwater
• McAlester Regional Health Center, 1 Clark Bass Blvd., McAlester
• Rogers State University, 1701 W. Will Rogers Blvd., Claremore
• Canadian County Health Department, 100 S. Rock Island, El Reno
• Canadian County Health Department, 1023 E. Vandament, Yukon
• Mercy Health Center, 4300 W. Memorial Road, Oklahoma City
• OU Medical Center, Women’s/Newborn Services, 1200 Everett Drive, Oklahoma City
• OU Physicians – OKC, (47 clinics), 825 NE 10th Street, Oklahoma City
• McIntosh County Health Department, 29 Hospital Road, Eufaula
• McIntosh County Health Department, 211 West Gentry, Checotah
• Haskell County Health Department, 1407 NE D Street, Stigler
• Latimer County Health Department, 201 West Main, Wilburton
• Muskogee County Health Department, 530 S. 34th Street, Muskogee
All are Gold Star Worksites who have exceeded the minimum criteria and have met at least three additional criteria.
Studies have shown that breastfed babies have fewer ear infections and allergies, less diarrhea, and less risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Children who are breastfed have less risk of becoming overweight and developing diabetes, cancers, and asthma. Breastfed babies also have lower health care costs.
Employers with breastfeeding friendly policies also benefit. They report reduced staff turnover and leave due to a sick child. Other benefits are improved retention of skilled workers, enhanced job productivity, employee satisfaction and morale, and a reputation as a company concerned for the welfare of its employees and families.
For more information about breastfeeding, or how to become a Breastfeeding Friendly Worksite, visit the OSDH breastfeeding Web site at http://bis.health.ok.gov. The Oklahoma Breastfeeding Hotline, 1-877-271-MILK, is available free of charge for those needing breastfeeding support and information.