Returning to work after the birth of a baby is a critical transition point. Working mothers have lower breastfeeding rates and shorter duration of breastfeeding compared to non-working mothers, and mothers in low income occupations have lower breastfeeding rates than those in higher income occupations.
Many mothers choose to stop breastfeeding at this time due to concerns about not being accommodated at work. Other mothers may prolong their leave or not return to work at all if they perceive an unsupportive environment.
What We Do
Businesses that offer lactation accommodation can benefit in many ways, such as decreased absenteeism and turnover as well as more productive, satisfied and loyal employees. Companies that adopt breastfeeding support programs see a cost savings of $3 for every $1 invested in the program.
LSE provides turnkey solutions and support to San Diego businesses across numerous industries to support lactation accommodation policies in the workplace. Industries include, but are not limited to: hospitality (hotels, casinos, etc…), non-profits, cities/government, retail, healthcare, engineering, technology, tourism, higher education and childcare.
LSE provides guidance and support through:
- Assessment of current needs and development of an implementation plan
- Policy samples and support of policy development or revision
- Implementation of policy and logistics to support both employees and employers
- Training of human resource staff and management
- Technical assistance with lactation room design, creative space solutions, and creating a supportive environment
- Resources for both employers and employees
Adoption of a lactation accommodation policy is important for many reasons. A policy will help support sustainability and provide directives to both managers and employees. Communication of support for lactation accommodation is easier when it is in writing. And a written policy shows that your business is in compliance with the law.
Check out the below resources to assist with writing or revising your lactation accommodation policy.
Communication is key to the success of a lactation accommodation policy. Human resources, managers, supervisors and employees all need to be aware that there is a system to support breastfeeding mothers. A policy can be communicated in many different ways. Some examples include: during the hiring process, maternity leave, before the employee returns from leave, a letter to all supervisors and managers, during a training or meeting, bulletin boards and through worksite wellness programs.
Changes to the workplace environment will help show support for lactation accommodation. Having an assigned lactation room is best practice, but not every business has the space for a designated room. Planning ahead for temporary spaces that employees can use to pump will help everyone with a smooth transition. Also, adding breastfeeding-friendly signage to your worksite will let your employees know you support them and clients know you are supportive.
See below resources for ideas on designing a lactation room.
Edcuation and Resources
Training managers and supervisors on the importance of lactation accommodation and how to handle requests is crucial. Providing specifics on how the policy should be carried out will make…
Responsibility for accommodations relies on both the employer and the employee to work together to make sure everyone’s needs are met. Resources for both HR and employees help to bridge the gap and provide educational information and directives on responsibilities.
See below resources aimed at employees and employers.
Employee Maternity Leave Packet (English) PDF
Additional resources and information can be accessed through our partners at the San Diego County Breastfeeding Coalition webpage Working and Breastfeeding Resources.