Ask the Expert: World Breastfeeding Week

Every year during the first week of August, more than 170 countries celebrate World Breastfeeding Week to encourage breast-feeding and to improve the health of babies around the globe. The Johns Hopkins Breastfeeding Support Program (BSP) provides resources to mothers who want to continue breastfeeding after returning to work and their supervisors. The resources include:

  • Mother’s Rooms on several campuses
  • Hospital grade breast pumps available for purchase at discounted prices
  • A vending machine with supplies for breastfeeding employees available inside the Mother's Room in Nelson 2-104
  • Consultations with breastfeeding employees and supervisors
  • Website with educational materials and online resources

Personal Story

I am currently an employee at JHH. I just wanted to send you a quick email to thank you for all the support I have received through the Breastfeeding Support Program. I am winding down on one year of breastfeeding my son, and definitely believe I could not have completed it without the amazing support of the BSP. I feel very lucky to have access to wonderful pump rooms with hospital grade pumps, and attribute my success to completing one year of breastfeeding to this. Thank you for all you do for new moms!

 

Are there laws or policies that support my choice to breastfeed after returning to work?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires insurance companies to cover certain women’s preventive services such as breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling. The ACA amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 by requiring employers to provide reasonable break time and place, other than a restroom, that is private and clean for mother to express breast milk.

Johns Hopkins University & Health System have policies that are compliant with federal law.

How can I find out if there is a Mother’s Room near where I work? What should I do if there isn’t?

There are more than 15 Mother’s Rooms at various Johns Hopkins campuses. For the most up-to-date information, visit http://hopkinsworklife.org/mothers-rooms. The comprehensive list also provides information about the contact people for each room. If your campus does not have a Mother’s Room, look at the list of Mother’s Room for locations of individuals tasked with finding space on an as needed basis.

New rooms are being added regularly. If you are interested in hosting a room, please email worklife@jhu.edu or call 443-997-7000.

One of my co-workers just returned from maternity leave and needs to pump a couple of times per day which means I need to cover for her. I feel like her choice is making more work for me. I’m feeling resentful. Any suggestions?

Changes in workload can be frustrating. It is important that your supervisor knows about your concerns and any questions that you might have. Your supervisor has the responsibility of managing employees’ schedules and making sure that performance standards are met. Also remember that employers have a legal responsibility to provide nursing mothers with time and space to pump.

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. It is likely your co-worker is very appreciative of your efforts and will look for opportunities in the future to support you.

What kinds of discounts do you offer on breastfeeding pumps and supplies?

The Pumps for Purchase program offers discounted personal breast pumps and Mother’s Room accessory kits for hospital-grade pumps. A vending machine located in Nelson’s Mother’s Room – 2-104 offers breastfeeding supplies for employees at discounted prices. The vending machine accepts debit or credit cards for the purchase of accessory kits, milk storage bags, breast pads, and other supplies.

One of my employees told me she would like to continue breastfeeding after returning to work. How can I best support her?

Supporting breastfeeding after an employee returns to work can be a win-win situation for everyone. You and your employee can plan for the possibility that she will breastfeed after returning to work. When your employee returns, you can review her schedule and work plans. Encourage revisiting the plans periodically to see if any changes need to be made. Email worklife@jhu.edu for a digital copy of the brochure Breastfeeding Support Guide for Managers & Supervisors. Print copies will be available by the end of August.

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aviva August 8, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Thanks to Meg Stoltzfus and Work Life Engagement for a fantastic program!

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Melanie Cragway CCSC August 6, 2014 at 11:59 am

I think the BSP is awesome! I nursed my oldest child for 13 months and I am now 8 months into nursing my second (with the hopes of making it to a year). Having a supportive work environment has definitely positively impacted my outcome!

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