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Breastfeeding Friendly


**Partners are not expected to begin this process without assistance and resources from the BFREE Team


Worksites are recognized for being breastfeeding friendly by the BFREE Team of/from Northwell Health.  There are many reasons for employers to foster a breastfeeding friendly environment for their employees and it is often easier to support employees than you might think!

Return on Investment

(U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau)

  1. Breastfeeding employees miss work less often. Since breastfed infants are healthier, as human milk fosters a better immune system, parents of breastfed infants generally spend more time at work and need to leave less often to care for sick children. 

  2. Breastfeeding lowers health costs. Reduced health care costs for breastfed infants means lower medical insurance claims for businesses. 

  3. A lactation support program can yield substantial dividends. A few of these important dividends include lower turnover rates, higher productivity and loyalty, and positive public relations. Employees are more likely to return to work after childbirth when their employer supports their decision to breastfeed, eliminating the costs of hiring temporary staff or recruiting, hiring, and training replacement staff. Employers who provide breastfeeding support also improve morale and job satisfaction as well as public image. 


Steps to Support

(U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau)

  1. Provide a Private Space. In compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the space must not be a bathroom and should be free from intrusion. Nursing mothers in these spaces should also have access to an electrical outlet and to running water. 

  2. Provide flexible breaks and work options. Employers can support their employees by ensuring they have flexible breaks and a reasonable amount of time to express milk. People often need about 20 minutes to express milk every 2- 3 hours.  Most women are able to use their regular breaks or meal period and will clock in and out as usual. You can learn more about the laws in NYS that apply to break time   here: 

  3. Provide education. Employer-provided information and resources accessible through the work site help prepare women for balancing the requirements for breastfeeding with their job responsibilities. These resources are also beneficial to expectant fathers.

  4. Provide support. A positive, accepting attitude from colleagues helps breastfeeding employees build their confidence in their ability to continue working while breastfeeding. 

For additional guidance, this self-assessment was developed to help guide and assist worksites to improve their breastfeeding policies and procedures to create a more breastfeeding friendly worksite.


Additional Resources for Employers: 

  • Making It Work Toolkit for Employers: This resource assists employers in complying with state and federal laws and explains the basic needs of employees, common sense solutions, resources, and FAQs. A checklist for employers is included which assists supervisors plan for employee requests for lactation accommodations.

  • Business Case for Breastfeeding: This is a comprehensive program designed to educate employers about the value of supporting breastfeeding employees in the workplace. The program highlights how such support contributes to the success of the entire business. The Business Case for Breastfeeding offers tools to help employers provide worksite lactation support and privacy for breastfeeding mothers to express milk.

  • Support for Breastfeeding in the Workplace: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guide for Breastfeeding Interventions provides the rationale and evidence of effectiveness for workplace support programs.

J O I N     T H E     M O V E M E N T !

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