Richland County Health Department has received the “Montana Mother-Friendly Worksite” designation from the Montana Nutrition and Physical Activity Program through the Department of Public Health and Human Services.
The designation is in recognition of the department’s efforts to be a family-friendly place to work and do business. The award acknowledged employers who have implemented breastfeeding friendly practices, including having a written breastfeeding support policy and time and private space to express breast milk. Richland County Health Department has had a breastfeeding and milk expression policy in place since 2015, which provides private space for both employees and clients to feed or express milk.
The department also sets up a feeding and diaper changing station at the Richland County Fair & Rodeo each year.
One in three new mothers returns to work within three months after birth, and about two thirds return within six months after the baby is born. Offering nursing support to employees provides a 3 to 1 return on investment, lowering absenteeism rates, lower healthcare and insurance costs, and higher retention rates.
Most importantly, breastfeeding support in the workplace provides health benefits for both mom and baby, and encourages new mothers to continue breastfeeding despite their return to work.
Breastfeeding support moves Montana closer to achieving the Healthy People 2020 breastfeeding goals.
For more information on this initiative, visit https://dphhs.mt.gov/publichealth/NAPA/MotherFriendlyWorksite.