Breastfeeding Support in the Workplace Can Reduce Sick Leave

Published on August 04, 2021

Mother breastfeeding her infant

Weld County, CO — August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), a time when the world celebrates breastfeeding and builds awareness and support. Breast milk is uniquely complex and far superior to any formula designed for babies. Health organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), tout breastfeeding as the ideal way to feed an infant and recommend feeding only breast milk for the first six months of a baby’s life, and then in combination with complementary nutritious foods for at least one year and for as long as is mutually desired by the mother and baby. Feeding breast milk for the recommended time protects infants and mothers from numerous short- and long-term illnesses.

Employers can play a role in supporting nursing employees by providing a clean private area and flexible break time to express breast milk. “Employers are finding that lactation support policies not only increase employee satisfaction and retention, but also make good business sense because of reduced sick leave. Mothers who formula feed are absent twice as frequently as mothers who feed breast milk, due to increased infant illness,” said Mike Schwan, Childhood Obesity Prevention Specialist for Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment (WCDPHE).

WCDPHE works closely with the Northern Colorado Breastfeeding Coalition (NCBC), a not-for-profit 501c(3) organization whose mission is to provide northern Colorado communities with breastfeeding support, resources, and education to make it easier for moms to breastfeed. NCBC offers technical and financial support to employers implementing policies and establishing comfortable lactation areas.

For more information about employer and public venue lactation support, go to the WCDPHE Breastfeeding Support webpage