Northgate Gonzalez Markets receives San Diego County Breastfeeding Coalition SDCBC Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Award

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mothers are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. labor force. Approximately 70% of employed mothers with children younger than 3 years work full time. One-third of these mothers return to work within 3 months after birth and two-thirds return within 6 months. Working outside the home is related to a shorter duration of breastfeeding, and intentions to work full time are significantly associated with lower rates of breastfeeding initiation and shorter duration. Low-income women, among whom African American and Hispanic women are over represented, are more likely than their higher-income counterparts to return to work earlier and to be engaged in jobs that make it challenging for them to continue breastfeeding. Given the substantial presence of mothers in the work force, there is a strong need to establish lactation support in the workplace (Source: The CDC Guide to Breastfeeding Interventions).

 It’s impressive to know that Northgate Gonzalez Markets wellness efforts continue to flourish and progress, but what’s even more inspiring is that they remain committed community partners with the Health & Human Services Agency and are steadfast in embracing Live Well San Diego. They were the very first business in San Diego County to become a Live Well San Diego partner back in April of 2013. Since then, Northgate Gonzalez Markets continue to actively lead the way for businesses in making health and wellness a priority for their customers and staff. With such a strong wellness presence through their employee wellness program Viva La Salud and the WellBaby Program, it is not surprising that Northgate Gonzalez Markets has risen to the top for the phenomenal, progressive work they are doing to promote “breastfeeding friendly” workplaces.


Their newest award, the San Diego County Breastfeeding Coalition (SDCBC) Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace Award, is a testament that Northgate continues to implement exceptional, comprehensive health and wellness programs that will positively impact not just employees and customers, but children as well. Northgate was chosen to receive this award because they were able to show compliance with the guidelines in place by SDCBC, reinforcing what makes a workplace breastfeeding friendly. These parameters include: privacy for milk expression, flexible breaks and work options, education, support and written policy all of which Northgate had in place due to their collaboration with the Lactation Supportive Environments Initiative at UC San Diego-Center for Community Health.

In addition to their lactation policy, Northgate also implemented a new WellBaby program, with a focus on helping mothers achieve a healthy pregnancy. A part of the WellBaby program is helping mothers when they get back to work. The WellBaby Program benefits include:

  1. Well Baby Education Packets: Educational packets sent to employee’s home throughout their trimesters to help inform them on how their body is changing and what their baby will needs.
  2. Telephonic/Email support from WellBaby Coordinator. Helps employees with finding a doctor or hospital. The WellBaby Coordinator will check in with employees throughout the pregnancy to see if there is anything employees need.
  3. Free Resources: Free information on free pregnancy classes or community resources near you! Also gain access to free online resources to help you through your pregnancy.
  4. Help Acquiring a Breast-Pump Our WellBaby Coordinator will work with your insurance to get you a Breast-Pump at $0 copay to you. Also receive information on Northgate’s Lactation Policy for a smooth transition back to work.

Both providing and promoting “breastfeeding friendly” workplace environments is critical for working mothers, so when monumental leaders like Northgate Gonzalez Markets get on board with efforts such as this, it reinforces to businesses everywhere that this is a priority.

The San Diego County Breastfeeding Coalition will be presented the award to Northgate Gonzalez Markets at the Liquid Gold Gala on Saturday, October 3, 2015.

The lactation accommodation policy support and development was led by UC San Diego-Center for Community Health’s Lactation Supportive Environments (LSE) Initiative through the County of San Diego HHSA with funding from First 5 San Diego, coordinated by Anne Kashiwa and Shana Wright-Bruno. The UC San Diego-Center for Community Health Live Well @ Work Manager Kelley Axelson provided the connection to LSE and support to Northgate employees around this new policy promotion.



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