By Jennifer Jordan
Director of Mom & Baby at Aeroflow Breastpumps
The first week in August marks “World Breastfeeding Week,” a campaign that raises awareness for breastfeeding as the foundation of lifelong good health for babies and mothers everywhere.
This year, World Breastfeeding Week has four primary objectives:
- Inform people about the links between gender-equitable parental social protection and breastfeeding
- Anchor parent-friendly values and gender-equitable social norms at all levels to support breastfeeding
- Engage with individuals and organizations for greater impact
- Galvanize action on gender-equitable parental social protection to advance breastfeeding
At Aeroflow Breastpumps, we believe it’s our responsibility to join those raising awareness of the barriers to success that breastfeeding mothers face each and every day. Over the years, we’ve helped hundreds of thousands of women receive breast pumps through insurance and in that time, we’ve heard a lot about the obstacles those women face in meeting their personal breastfeeding goals.
Perhaps more common than any other is the question of where to pump at work. Head to the car? Hide in a storage closet? Hunt down an empty conference room? Moms deserve better, and they do have rights! According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers must provide reasonable break time for mothers to express breast milk for their infant up to one year after their birth. They must also provide a private space free from the intrusion of the public and coworkers for the purpose of expressing breast milk.
Yet, many employers still do not abide by these guidelines. Recently, Aeroflow Healthcare conducted a survey of 1,048 American adults to assess perceptions of breastfeeding and pumping, and found that one-in-three people do not believe employers should be required to provide a lactation room for nursing mothers. And that number increases for employers with unconventional workplaces (schools, construction sites, law offices, etc.).
Unfortunately, this leaves many new moms feeling as if they have to choose between their career and their breastfeeding goals. In fact, due to the negative stigmas attached to breastfeeding, nearly half of working moms feel the need to quit working or seek a more family forward employer in order to provide breast milk for their babies.
That’s why we’re excited to announce our 2nd Annual Pumping Room Makeover contest. Last year, the contest received more than 550 entries, including submissions from Fortune 500 companies, family-owned businesses, hospitals, schools and military bases. Pumping Room Makeover entries will be accepted throughout August in honor of World Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding month. One grand prize winner will receive a completely redesigned, fully-equipped oasis for the pumping moms in their organization!
Research clearly shows that when new moms feel supported in the workplace, businesses see decreased turnover and increased productivity. Providing a lactation room is one of the most impactful ways an employer can show that support. Our hope is to raise awareness of the benefits to both businesses and their employees in providing these spaces.
Jennifer Jordan is the Director of Mom & Baby at Aeroflow Healthcare, a durable medical equipment provider that has provided breast pumps and maternity compression through insurance to hundreds of thousands of women. A working and former breastfeeding mom, Jennifer—along with her team—is committed to supporting all moms on their pregnancy and breastfeeding journey through support, education and exceptional customer service.