Nursing Moms Asked to Identify Places Where They Feel Welcome
PITTSBURGH – The Allegheny County Health Department, in cooperation with the Allegheny County Breastfeeding Coalition, is seeking nominations for its annual Breastfeeding Friendly Place Awards.
The awards are presented to workplaces, public places and other sites away from home that make an extra effort to help breastfeeding moms by offering a positive attitude and supportive environment.
Employers can help breastfeeding moms with flex time or extended paid maternity leave; a health plan with breast pump coverage; work site day care; and provisions for breastfeeding at work, such as an appropriate place and accommodating time for pumping milk and a refrigerator in which to store the milk.
Public places and other areas away from home -- restaurants, malls, libraries, theaters, parks, places of worship as well as sports and entertainment facilities -- can be supportive by providing an attractive, clean, private area and comfortable seating for mothers to use when nursing, and by having signage to welcome breastfeeding mothers and let them know special accommodations are available.
Making places outside the home more breastfeeding friendly helps encourage women to breastfeed longer and as a result babies and moms will derive greater health benefits from breastfeeding.
Studies show health benefits increase when babies are breastfed for six months or longer. However, surveys have found that only 47.2% of babies nationwide and 42.3% in Pennsylvania are breastfed six months or longer, due in part to a lack of support in the workplace and other areas outside the home.
Breastfeeding friendly workplaces are also good for business, because breastfed babies are less likely to get sick throughout childhood and as a result their moms and dads miss less work due to a child’s illness.
To nominate an employer, public place or other site outside the home for the awards, please call the Allegheny County Health Department at 412-687-ACHD or visit www.achd.net. Nominations will be accepted until May 17, and the awards will be announced during World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7.
The award winners last year were in the workplace category the H.J. Heinz Company (Heinz 57 Center) in Downtown Pittsburgh and Kids Plus Pediatrics medical office in Squirrel Hill, and in the public place category Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Woods Run and retailer E2 Toys2Try in Scott.
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