Breastfeeding is healthy for both mom and baby! Health, of course, is what the health department is all about; and the health department actively supports and promotes breastfeeding in all of its community health programs and clinics. Our own employees should not be an exception! They need to know that they will have support in achieving their breastfeeding goals too! We know that going back to work is a major barrier to continuance of breastfeeding and that a supportive workplace can make all the difference Offering flexible work hours and providing break times and a private space for expressing breast milk are not just “nice to haves” but imperative for nursing moms. We are especially proud of our lactation room which is comfy and cozy, decorated with inviting posters of breastfeeding, and well-stocked with educational materials. The room also has a changing table and diapers and is often used by moms in the community who come into the Health department with their children to visit program staff including WIC and Healthy Start staff.
When I returned from maternity leave after 3 months, I found that accessing the room was a simple and straightforward process. My Bureau Chief and Senior Deputy Director were extremely supportive, and never made me feel that using the lactation room 2-3 times a day was a problem. Having access to a clean, quiet and separate dedicated space for pumping, enabled me to continue exclusive breastfeeding until my baby was 6 months old and I could begin supplementing her diet. When I hear stories about women who have had to pump in bathroom stalls at work, I am horrified, and extremely grateful for my experience at the DC Department of Health. As a first time mom, who was balancing work and the demands of a new baby, I think that I would’ve given up on breastfeeding if not for having access to the lactation room at work. So thank you DOH, for helping me to provide the best option to my little girl.
We are health professionals, moms, educators, policy-makers, organizations, businesses and others who promote, protect, and support breastfeeding. We have been assisting breastfeeding families and professionals since 2002. The Maryland Breastfeeding Coalition is a member coalition of the United States Breastfeeding Committee.