July 31, 2012
A recent addition to Vermont’s growing list of more than 200 breastfeeding friendly employers started with a conversation between a public health nurse and a human resources manager on the sidelines of a high school field hockey game.
Cynthia Twombly, who works for the Vermont Department of Health, asked Dick Kaufman, who works for G.S. Precision in Brattleboro, if she could talk to the company’s executive team about having a designated place for young mothers to breastfeed.
Twombly works with young mothers in Brattleboro through the WIC (Women, Infants & Children) supplemental nutrition program.
“The executive team’s response was, ‘This is a good idea and we will set it up right away.’” Twombley said. “They designated a comfortable room in an adjacent building where women could privately and conveniently pump and store the milk in coolers.”
World Breastfeeding Week (Aug 1 -7) is a good opportunity to remind Vermonters that breast milk provides babies the best nutrition, enhances brain development and lowers a child’s risk of becoming overweight or obese.
Breast milk is a natural and a complete form of infant nutrition and provides antibodies that helps fight off infection and disease. Newborns typically nurse eight to 12 times in a 24-hour period. Mothers returning to work need to pump for each missed feeding to maintain their milk supply and meet their baby’s nutrition needs.
Early exclusive breastfeeding helps lay the foundation needed to continue breastfeeding while a mother is on maternity leave and when she returns to work. A continuous supply of breast milk during the baby’s first year provides a healthy start, both physically and emotionally.
“When a Vermont manufacturer such as GS Precision supports breastfeeding in the workplace it clearly demonstrates a commitment by the entire community to improve public health,” Twombley said.
Kaufman said it is clear attitudes about breast feeding have become more supportive in recent years.
“Thirty percent of our workforce are women,” Kaufman noted, “and we have to accommodate their needs.”
Visit http://HealthVermont.gov/YouCanDoIt to learn more about our Change the Landscape campaign, the importance of breastfeeding and health, and what individuals can do to support breastfeeding in their communities.
Visit http://healthvermont.gov/wic/food-feeding/breastfeeding/friendly-employer-project.aspx for information about Vermont's Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Project.
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Source: Department of Health
Last Updated at: July 31, 2012 09:26:10