Breastfeeding education for your employees is an important part of your company’s lactation program. Employees that have information and resources available to them through their work are better prepared to balance breastfeeding with their job responsibilities. This information isn’t just for moms, Dads also are an important part of breastfeeding! Both parents benefit when expectant fathers are also well informed. Companies that provide lactation education for their employees and partners benefit because they have lower absentee rates and lower health insurance costs. Here are some ways you can educate your employees about breastfeeding and the workplace. Prenatal Breastfeeding Education Prenatal Breastfeeding Education has been shown to be effective in encouraging mothers to breastfeed and helps them be more successful in long-term breastfeeding. Classes can be given at the company at a convenient time for employees, such as over a lunch break. It could be a brown bag lunch, and be over series of breaks during the week so the class covers all the important topics. Male employees should also be encouraged to attend even if their partner does not work for the company, or encourage both parents to attend! The class as a minimum should cover the benefits and reasons for breastfeeding, breastfeeding techniques and expressing and storing breastmilk. You can bring in a Certified Lactation Educator or Consultant to teach these classes at your company. If having a class at your company is not an available option, then consider allowing employees to take classes that are being taught outside the company and cover the cost. Classes are often taught within the community such as WIC centers, hospitals, and La Leche League. Healthy Horizons routinely teaches breastfeeding classes at companies and also holds monthly prenatal breastfeeding classes for the community. Postpartum Lactation Education and Counseling Lactation support postpartum is important because it helps moms continue to breastfeed longer which contributes to the company’s ROI. This could include a personal consultation in the hospital to get breastfeeding off to a good start. Or a home consultation to ensure that breastfeeding is going well for the mom and baby. Many corporate insurance plans cover the cost of a visit with a lactation consultant, but most moms need support in addition to the minimum that their insurance covers. Moms should have a person in benefits they can contact to find out what their insurance covers and what benefits the company offers. Some companies also contract with a Healthy Horizons lactation consultant to provide lactation support. In addition to consultations, mothers can also get help and support from breastfeeding support groups. Your company can offer a breastfeeding support group the meets regularly, or you can provide information to your employees on local groups in the area, Healthy Horizons offers both options. Back-to-Work Classes Going back to the office is often daunting and stressful for new mothers. Moms need to think about the logistics of pumping milk at work, getting the right equipment, storing breastmilk, and bottle-feeding with a caregiver. It is a lot of information to learn and process. Having a Back-to-Work Class for your employees helps ensure a smoother transition. A corporate Back-to-Work Class can include not only the logistics of pumping milk and working, but also the benefits and lactation programs available to your employees. Personalized one-on-one back-to-work consultations with follow-up sessions are also a great benefit for your employees. Every mom has a unique situation and a personalized consultation would fully address all the questions that a mom may have. Many companies will bring in a Healthy Horizons lactation consultant for the class and have their benefits person explain the corporate lactation programs and benefits to the employees. Healthy Horizons has specific Back-to-Work classes and provides personalized Back-to-Work Consultations. Infant, Child CPR Classes It is important for parents to know infant CPR especially since it is different from adult CPR. They should be prepared for unexpected emergencies like allergic responses, airway obstruction, or choking hazards. This can be an important benefit your employees will appreciate! You can provide classes at your company with a certified instructor, or have your employees attend an outside class. CPR classes are available through Healthy Horizons, and they can help you provide infant CPR classes at your company. Providing breastfeeding education to your employees is an important part of a successful lactation program. It encourages mothers to breastfeed longer which helps a company enjoy the return on investment in a lactation program. Both moms and dads can benefit and be appreciative of the company’s benefits. To find out more about how to incorporate breastfeeding education into your lactation program, contact Healthy Horizons to put together a plan or to bring classes to your company. Bibliography
“Breastfeeding Education for Increased Breastfeeding Duration.” WHO, World Health Organization, www.who.int/elena/bbc/breastfeeding_education/en/. Accessed 6 June 2017. “Business Case for Breastfeeding.” Womenshealth.gov, 3 May 2017, www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-home-work-and-public/breastfeeding-and-going-back-work/business-case. Accessed 6 June 2017.