With a new baby, working and breastfeeding mothers juggle work and taking care of a new baby. Not every mother will need a special schedule or job flexibility, but having the options available is important in enabling work/life balance for both their productivity and workplace retention. Moms appreciate the support they receive from your company which in turn motivates them to do their best work for the business. There are many options that employers can give their working moms to accommodate both working and breastfeeding a new baby. Here are possibilities for employers to offer their employees. Flextime/Shift Flexibility/Compressed Work Weeks Allowing employees to adjust their work schedule allows them to be productive at work and be able to take care of their baby. With a flexible schedule or change in work hours, moms can spend more time with their babies and even more time nursing instead of time using a breastpump. This also lets a breastfeeding mother flex to meet unexpected needs her infant may have so she can give her full attention to her job during her work hours. There are a number of options employers can give to adjust their employees’ work schedule depending on the nature of the job.
Flextime allows employees to put in their work hours and complete their tasks during non-traditional work hours. Adjusting an employee’s shift can also help mom and dad’s schedule to care for the baby. If one parent has an early shift and the other has a late shift, the baby can stay home with a parent during the day. This is especially helpful when childcare is difficult to find or expensive.
Another option is to have a compressed work week, when an employee works their weekly full-time hours within a few days so they are able to have more full days off. This helps with childcare and allows mom to spend more full days nursing the baby at home. Letting a mom spend more consecutive full days with her baby allows her to nurse the baby more and helps her milk supply which in turn reduces the stress of pumping enough milk to feed an infant.
Part-time Work/Job Sharing/Split (joint) Appointments Some moms opt to work a part-time schedule while they are breastfeeding their baby. They may want to temporarily reduce their hours while they are providing breastmilk for their baby. It’s also possible to job share with another employee, particularly if there is another mom or employee who also is interested in part-time work. Job sharing works out well for both moms and employer because it gives moms the extra time they need with their family and business tasks can get completed while retaining employees.
Telecommuting Telecommuting allows moms to work from home, which lets them nurse their baby instead of pumping milk. Moms can connect to their company intranet from home, call into meetings, and work on projects. It can free up more time for moms because they don’t have to take time packing and cleaning their pump kit and commuting to work. It is especially beneficial when a baby is sick at home and cannot attend daycare. Many employees have a schedule that combines telecommuting with going into the office so they can still have in-person meetings and face-to-face time with their co-workers.
For many employees, an adjustment to their schedule or the ability to telecommute makes a big difference in work/life balance with little to no effort for the company. Even a small change in a schedule can help reduce stress for employees and improve work/life balance. Sometimes a combination of options also works best, for example allowing flexibility in work hours and the ability to telecommute during non-traditional work times.
Let your breastfeeding moms know what work options are available for them to help with work/life balance. They should be able to talk to their managers about their options and what works for both the company and the employee. Giving breastfeeding mothers work flexibility not only retains employees but improves company morale and shows your support. This is a great benefit to include in your company’s lactation program, and maternity/paternity leave policies. For more information and ideas for your corporate lactation program contact Healthy Horizons Corporate Lactation Services.