Starting a Program at My Employer
According to the Business Case for Breastfeeding, employees whose companies provide breastfeeding support consistently report improved morale, better satisfaction with their jobs, and higher productivity. To support breastfeeding after moms return to work, Johns Hopkins:
- Sponsors a Breastfeeding Support Program for employees.
- Provides information about breastfeeding and breastfeeding at work to employees who are expecting a baby.
- Provides physical space (Mother's Rooms) across campuses that can be used to express milk. Some rooms with high use are equipped with hospital-grade pumps.
- Communicates with leadership, managers, and supervisors:
- Federal Law
- Employers are required to provide "reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child's birth each time such employee has need to express the milk."
- Employers are also required to provide "a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk."
- Maryland Law
- A mother may breastfeed her child in public or a private location in which the mother and child are authorized to be.
- A person may not restrict or limit the right of a mother to breastfeed her child.
- Infants are not permitted at any time in settings where potential health, safety, or noise issues or other hazards may be of concern, including but not limited to laboratories and clinical areas.
- Federal Law
Alliance for Work-Life Progress Innovative Excellence Award 2015
Company: Johns Hopkins University/Johns Hopkins Health System, Baltimore, MD
Program: Johns Hopkins Breastfeeding Support Program
Johns Hopkins describes its Breastfeeding Support Program (BSP) as an innovative approach which shares the responsibility for breastfeeding support with the mother and employer, across all Johns Hopkins entities. In 2011, the Office of Work, Life and Engagement at Johns Hopkins established the BSP which includes 13 campus-wide Mother’s Rooms. Last year, the program developed the first-known breastfeeding supplies vending machine. Today, the Mother’s Rooms at Johns Hopkins support over 20,000 visits annually.
Breastfeeding Support Program work-life benefits include:
- All Mother’s Rooms are equipped with hospital-grade breast pumps.
- Through the Office of Work, Life and Engagement, the BSP offers access to a list of resources such as childcare referrals, backup childcare and parenting workshops.
- Participating mothers can receive online breastfeeding support and individual in-person consultations.
- A high-use Mother’s Room is equipped with a vending machine for pump accessories offered at a discounted price.
As a health care and higher education environment, Johns Hopkins has long understood the benefits of breastfeeding to mother and baby, but the benefits to the employer were not fully considered. Today, the organization credits its program with such benefits as endorsement by leadership, reduced turnover, enhanced employee loyalty and wide-spread support of a family-friendly organizational culture.
Michelle Carlstrom, senior director for the Office of Work, Life and Engagement said, “We are honored to receive the WorldatWork Alliance for Work-Life Progress 2015 Innovative Excellence Award for our Breastfeeding Support Program. We know that supporting nursing mothers when they return to work benefits the baby, employee, and organization. We hear from employees and managers alike about the ways in which have they have succeeded in supporting high quality work with breaks to express breast milk. It is gratifying to hear from employees that the Breastfeeding Support Program made it possible for them to nurse after returning to work. We are very proud to receive this award as a formal acknowledgement of Johns Hopkins commitment to supporting employees and their families.”