Modified: July 31, 2017 10:32am
From the Office of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale R. Burstein
Date: July 27, 2017
CONTACT: Mary C. St. Mary/Mary.StMary@Erie.Gov
Phone: 716.858.4941/ Mobile: 716.253.3925
Creating Breastfeeding-Friendly Worksites
Support for Businesses Creating Lactation Rooms
ERIE COUNTY, NY—World Breastfeeding Week is observed August 1st-7th. “Breastfeeding provides infants a protective effect against respiratory illnesses, ear infections, gastrointestinal diseases, and allergies including asthma, eczema and atopic dermatitis, said Dr. Gale Burstein, Erie County Commissioner of Health. “The rate of sudden infant death syndrome (“SIDS”) is reduced by over a third in breastfed babies, and there is a 15-30% reduction in adolescent and adult obesity in breastfed vs. non-breastfed infants.”
Nursing women who return to the workforce encounter barriers to breastfeeding such as: lack of flexibility for milk expression in their work schedule, lack of appropriate accommodations to pump or store breast-milk, concerns about support from employer and colleagues and real or perceived low milk supply.
On Friday, July 28, 2017 from 11am-1pm there will be a Healthy Baby Festival at Delaware Park. This event, sponsored by the Catholic Charities WIC program and the Buffalo Prenatal-Perinatal Network, will provide residents with educational information and access to resources to help babies grow up healthy.
To help educate businesses on this topic, a Create a Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace workshop will be held on Thursday, August 31, 2017 (10am, Catholic Charities, 75 Caldwell Place, Lackawanna 14218). This event is for employers to learn about the New York State laws regarding the rights of nursing mothers in the workplace and what resources are available to nursing mothers in the Western New York community. The workshop is a joint effort sponsored by members of the Healthy Start, Healthy Future for All Coalition (of which ECDOH is a member), The coalition has received funding from the New York Statewide Breastfeeding Coalition and the Independent Health Foundation to provide six workplaces with $50-$100 mini-grants. These funds are targeted solely for businesses wishing to set up lactation rooms and will be used by the coalition to purchase resources (i.e., tables, chairs, mini-refrigerators). To register and apply for a mini-grant, businesses are asked to complete the application found at: https://goo.gl/forms/V3wH3CuMaEhsK6pS2
Worksites that are interested in becoming or being recognized as breastfeeding friendly are encouraged to contact Kelly Fletcher, Public Health Educator at (716) 858-4752 or Kelly.Fletcher@erie.gov.
The first business to take advantage of this opportunity to become breastfeeding friendly is START WITH SLEEP, a retailer located on Hertel Avenue. This fall, START WITH SLEEP will launch maternity and child sleep programs that support families and assist with challenges that often arise as a new families grow. They will be the first retail space in North Buffalo hosting a Lactation Room to support breastfeeding mothers on the go, and it will also serve as a communal breastfeeding support space for the employees of other Hertel Avenue businesses.
The owner, Soda Kuczkowski stated: “Sleep is important for mothers to keep up both their milk production and energy levels. It is our pleasure to host a space to promote and support a mother’s choice to breastfeed and to hopefully encourage more businesses to rethink their part in helping support families”. Their Mother’s Lounge is set to open in September 2017. ECDOH has worked with START WITH SLEEP, offering technical assistance and literature on breastfeeding and community resources.
A Breastfeeding Friendly Worksite not only benefits the mother and the baby but benefits the employer as well, as it has been shown to result in lower absenteeism, higher morale and productivity, reduced employee turnover and lower health care costs. In a recent national study, women who received both reasonable break time and had access to a private lactation room, were 2.3 times more likely to breastfeed exclusively at 6 months.
For additional information on becoming a Breastfeeding Friendly workplace, contact Kelly Fletcher, Public Health Educator at (716) 858-4752 or Kelly.Fletcher@erie.gov.
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