Why a Baby-Friendly Business?
Breastfeeding is good for business!
- Reduced Absenteeism. Parents of formula fed babies miss more work days than the parents of breastfed infants. Research shows that breastfed infants have lower rates of illness. A 1995 study showed that 75% of one day absences occurred in parents of formula fed infants while only 25% of one day absences occur in parents of breastfed infants (Cohen et al.).
- Positive Public Relations. Companies that show good will and innovation receive good press. Supporting the health of your employees and customers shows your community that you care.
- Increase revenue. A breastfeeding friendly environment will attract families to your business.
- Attract new employees. Potential female employees are more likely to take a position with supportive maternity leave and breastfeeding policies.
- Retention of experienced employees. Employees who feel valued and supported at work are more likely to return to work after pregnancy. Expenses are decreased by reduced need for recruitment, hiring and training of new employees.
- Benefits Wood Buffalo. According to a 2010 cost-analysis, it is estimated that in the U.S. $13 billion in health care costs could be saved if breastfeeding recommendations were followed at a rate of 90% (Reinhold & Bartick.) Savings to the province of Alberta would convert to approximately $150 million annually.
- Lower Health Insurance Premiums. Breastfeeding can reduce medical cost for mothers and babies. This means fewer healthcare claims and lower costs to the employer.
In the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB), there are numerous young families.
What are the Stats?
- Women make up 43% of RMWB’s population and 72% of women are working.
- The average age in the RMWB is 32.
- The birth rate from 2011 to 2012 increased by 25% and will continue to rise as the population grows.
Women are an important part of the work force.
How will you attract them to come back to work and keep them there?
What do I need to be a Baby-Friendly Business?
- Space for Customers: Very little space is required. A small, clean space and a chair. Just enough space for a mother to sit comfortably to feed her baby. This space may be used for another purpose on a daily basis, but if a mother asks for a private space, it can be designated as the “Mom and Baby Room.” This should not be the bathroom; this is not a normal eating place.
- Space for Employees: A comfortable chair and/or an electrical outlet may be all that is needed. Moms may bring a breast pump to work. Refer to the resources sections for a list of local providers of pump rentals. Space in a fridge may be provided for milk storage. Moms may also use a cooler and ice packs. If possible, moms may request to have their baby brought to work.
- Breastfeeding in Public: Make moms comfortable. Place a sign on your door that tells the public that you are breastfeeding friendly. Assist a mother to find a comfortable place to feed her baby if she asks. If a mother is comfortable feeding her child in public, don’t stare or ask her to stop or leave. Breastfeeding is normal.
- Support for employees: Sit down with your employee before she has her baby and when she comes back to work. This will create an opportunity to develop a plan that will result in satisfaction of both the employer and the employee. Support, understanding and open communication are key!
- Make a Policy: Policy may assist your organization in ensuring that breastfeeding mothers are respected and supported in your establishment. Inform staff members that breastfeeding is permitted anytime and anywhere. Breastfeeding is normal policy – all employees should be oriented. Check out an example policy. Click here.
Businesses that become ‘Baby-Friendly’ will enjoy positive community recognition. They will also find that there is a positive return on business from childbearing families. Contact us to find out how you can be recognized.
More information on Baby-Friendly Workplace Programs in Canada and the U.S.
- Nova Scotia – Make Breastfeeding your Business Click here
- Ontario Public Health Association’s guide to creating a breastfeeding friendly workplace. Click here
- BFI Halton (Ontario) Click here
- How to be a Family Friendly Workplace by Best Start Click here