How to Create a Lactation Friendly Culture at Work
By Kate Torgersen on April 5, 2022
Pumping parents know a thing or two about stress, so this Stress Awareness Month, we want to help you make the transition back into the workplace as painless as possible.
A New Mom’s Healthy Returns study revealed that 4 out of 5 employees want better breastfeeding support from their employer. Among the most important: having a flexible schedule upon returning to work and having breastfeeding benefits, such as breast milk shipping and space to comfortably accommodate multiple pumping moms.
HR teams: listen up!
Supporting women throughout their journey to becoming parents should be a part of every company’s HR inclusion and diversity efforts. Helping new moms return to work translates to improved morale, higher productivity, fewer absences, and better job satisfaction.
If you are unsure what that should look like for your company, we’ve compiled a few ideas on how to be a better support system for new moms.
1. Offer private, comfortable, and convenient spaces to pump (that are not supply closets, cars, or bathrooms)!
Pumping is hard work — so why not make pumping parents’ lives easier! A lactation room should be a clean private space with a lock on the door and equipped with a cozy chair that allows for height adjustments. Ideally, the room should also include a flat, wipeable table that can accommodate a breast pump, a laptop, and supplies. Providing storage is a plus so that pumping parents can store their pumps and supplies, and don’t have to lug items back and forth across the office.
Some additional perks would be a sink and a fridge to store the milk. Otherwise, try to have the lactation room located near a kitchen.
2. Create a “Return from Parental Leave Onboarding Program”
Start with a check-in with the new parents, a few weeks before their return. If the parent plans to breast/chestfeed, ask how best the team can support them as they transition back to the office.
Many parents are not aware that they have breast/chestfeeding rights. So, make it known that there are resources out there— for example, The Federal Law passed by the Affordable Care Act and amended by the Fair Labor Standards Act allows pumping parents to take paid breaks to pump at work (for up to one year after birth).
We also covered this topic in our last blog post, Your Lactation Rights!
3. Survey current and past pumping parents to understand what’s working and what needs to be improved
When it comes to advocating for better workplace lactation no one knows better than the experts — working, pumping parents! Surveying pumping parents can help employers identify areas to build on and opportunities to improve. Additionally, surveying pumping parents can help to gather a collection of resources as well as practical tips and tricks for successful workplace pumping.
Share this information on your company’s intranet and/or in conjunction with lactation benefits so it is available and accessible to all.
4. Foster a parent community within your organization
Welcoming parents back from leave and supporting them in the transition back to work demonstrates a company’s commitment to a family-friendly workplace and helps new parents navigate the challenging logistics of early parenthood. To foster a parent community within your company, ensure that there are employee benefits that support families throughout the continuum of parenthood. Help make parenthood celebrated and visible — announce babies and grandbabies, family milestones, and graduations.
5. Join Milk Stork’s family benefits platform program!
The Milk Stork Flock provides a suite of practical lactation benefits including Milk Stork’s renowned breast milk shipping, breast milk nutritional testing, virtual lactation support, access to insurance-covered breast pumps, and hospital-grade breast pumps for lactation rooms.
Supporting lactation doesn’t just help families, it’s also good for business. Offering lactation support helps lower insurance costs, reduce absenteeism, and more. Get the info HERE!
If you’re an employee and want these benefits at your company, we can help! We’ll reach out to your employer and get the conversation started— and, of course, share this article with them!
Returning to work and leaving a newborn behind is no easy transition. We hope these tips are helpful for employees and employers!