Breastfeeding At The Workplace
Working mothers have a mountain of decisions to make before the baby is born. How much maternity leave should I take from my job? Who is going to watch my child once I go back to work? How easy will it be to breastfeed when I’m working a full or part-time job?
This last question just got easier to answer. Under President Obama’s health care reform legislation, employers are now required to give breastfeeding mothers breaks and a place to breastfeed. Employers have to find a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from the public. This rule stays in place until a year after the child’s birth.
Oklahoma has several laws that help breastfeeding mothers. The Department of Health has to issue periodic reports on breastfeeding rates, complaints received and benefits reported by both working breastfeeding mothers and employers. Mothers who are breastfeeding a baby are exempt from jury duty, upon their request. Another law allows a mother to breastfeed her child in any public location.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, strongly recommend women breastfeed their child.
Breastfeeding Protects Babies
Breast milk is full of antibodies and nutrients that help protect babies from a long list of illnesses such as asthma, obesity, stomach viruses, ear infections and lower respiratory illness. Studies have also shown breastfeeding lowers the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Breastfeeding Benefits Mothers
Studies show breastfeeding reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and postpartum depression. Some people believe breastfeeding also burns calories, which causes women to lose weight faster. However, experts are still working on research to see if there’s a link between breastfeeding and weight loss.
Breastfeeding Benefits Families
Breastfeeding can also save money. A container of formula can cost at a minimum of $20-25, which usually lasts for about two week. Employers are also happy because breastfeeding mothers could miss less work because their babies are sick less often.
Still, breastfeeding is a personal decision. Check with your pediatrician if you have questions about breastfeeding. Pediatric Specialists of Tulsa, located at 74th & Yale has a lactation consultant and providers who have personal and professional experience with breastfeeding as well as a nursery room designed for nursing moms. Call to make an appointment at 918-523-KIDS or visit their website at pediatricspecialistsoftulsa.