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Medela Helps Employers Create Supportive Environment for Breastfeeding
Date:5/10/2010

MCHENRY, Ill., May 10 /PRNewswire/ -- In support of National Women's Health Week, Medela today announced the availability of resources and services to help employers create a supportive workplace for nursing mothers.  With corporations now required to provide nursing mothers breaks to express breastmilk under the new Patient Protection and Affordability Act signed by President Obama, Medela's Corporate Lactation program offers companies direction on setting up a successful program to benefit mothers, babies and their businesses.  

"Creating a supportive environment for breastfeeding is important to businesses and to the health of the mothers they employ. Our Corporate Lactation program helps employers not only adhere to the new requirements, but to go above and beyond to encourage breastfeeding," said Carolin Archibald, vice president, Medela Breastfeeding Division.  "In addition to the well-documented benefits to babies, breastfeeding helps mothers return to their pre-pregnancy state faster and reduces their risk of osteoporosis and breast and ovarian cancers -- health benefits that are particularly top of mind now as we act as a National Women's Health Week partner."  

The United States Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee, and the National Business Group on Health have documented the benefits of a work environment supportive of breastfeeding.  Successful corporate lactation programs help reduce turnover and absenteeism, improve employee morale, reduce sick time taken for children's illnesses, and lower health care and insurance costs.

A study by the Department of Pediatrics and Steele Memorial Children's Research Center at the University of Arizona, revealed that for every 1,000 babies not breastfed, there are an extra 2,033 physician visits, 212 days in the hospital and 609 prescriptions.(1)  A survey of working moms conducted by an independent research firm on behalf of National Women's Health Resource Center and Medela, Inc., reveals many women need more support, as about half of the respondents said they found it difficult to continue breastfeeding upon returning to work because their employer did not provide a supportive environment.  

More than 200 corporations currently utilize Medela breastfeeding products as part of their lactation programs.  Medela can also offer guidance and direction on three main components of successful corporate lactation programs, including:

  • Setting up private "Mother's Rooms" for expressing milk in a secure, relaxing environment
  • Access to breastpumps and equipment for subsidization or outright purchase, be it hospital-grade multi-user breastpumps or personal-use breastpumps
  • Consultation services of certified lactation specialists

"At Chevron, there has been a surge in new moms who are interested in breastfeeding," said Sara Kashima, advisor and work life/global health information coordinator at Chevron Corporation. "Creating a supportive environment for breastfeeding is important to our workers and to our company. Medela provided company-sponsored breast pumps to our nursing and working moms. This has been a really wonderful program as we find ways to support our employees as they return to work and demonstrate our commitment to their health."

"Mothers continue to be a significant and growing portion of the workforce, so it is critical to provide them the opportunity to continue breastfeeding once they return to the workplace.  Medela is committed to helping employers create corporate lactation programs that are effective and simple to set-up," adds Archibald.  "The resources and guidance we offer employers to encourage breastfeeding is a testament to Medela's support of breastfeeding mothers and babies."  

For more information about Medela's Corporate Lactation program, information about breastfeeding in the workplace and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, section 4207, and to access resources for companies and mothers, please visit www.medelacorporatelactation.com.  

About Medela

Medela provides the most technologically advanced breast pumps and breastfeeding accessories to nursing mothers around the world.  A long-time champion of breastfeeding, Medela is the only company to develop products based on research by the world's leading lactation experts. As a result, Medela's breast pumps are the number one choice of healthcare professionals and facilities worldwide.

Medela has developed an extensive line of products to meet the diverse needs of nursing mothers.  These products include hospital-grade, double and single electric and manual personal breastpumps; breastfeeding accessories such as breast care products and specialty feeding devices. Most recently, Medela introduced 2-Phase Expression®, the only research-based breastpump technology that mimics a baby's nursing rhythm, resulting in faster let-down and milk flow.

Founded in 1961 by Olle Larsson in Zug, Switzerland, Medela continues to grow under the ownership of the Larsson family. Medela serves customers through a worldwide network of distribution partners in more than 90 countries and its 14 subsidiaries in Australia, the Benelux countries, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

(1) Ball TM, Wright AL. Health care costs for formula-feeding in the first year of life.  Pediatrics. 1999;103(4): 807-876


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