The Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) today proudly accepted the Gold Level Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Award for creating an outstanding office environment for nursing employees.
The annual award, jointly sponsored by the Maryland Breastfeeding Coalition (MBC) and the D.C. Breastfeeding Coalition (DCBFC), recognizes companies that provide “a clean, private space and flexible, reasonable unpaid breaks for women to express their milk during work hours without discrimination.”
AMCHP’s Washington, D.C., office provides a Wellness Room that includes two large reclining chairs with a coffee table in between, a small refrigerator designated only for breastmilk, a place to store pumping supplies, a sink, a small microwave, an office phone, and a television. The room is situated down a hall away from the main work spaces, and the staff who are nursing arrange a schedule.
“As an organization dedicated to protecting and promoting the optimal health of all women, children, and their families, it is only natural we exemplify those values in our workplace culture,” said Lori Tremmel Freeman, CEO of AMCHP. “We at AMCHP recognize that supporting nursing moms by providing the time, material resources, and emotional support to continue breastfeeding after returning to work helps our employees meet their health goals for themselves and their children.”
The award, which covers businesses in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and northern Virginia, comes at an apt time, as six women on AMCHP’s staff have had babies in the past year. Several shared what AMCHP’s breastfeeding polices and resources mean to them and their families:
Kate Taft, Associate Director, Child and Adolescent Health: “I’ve really appreciated how AMCHP’s policy made my transition back to work a lot easier. Not only is there a comfortable, dedicated space to pump, but the policy also helps me feel comfortable in taking the time to pump each day.
“I don’t feel that I am a burden or asking for special accommodations. In fact, the policy helps me feel further supported and that the importance of breastfeeding for myself and other moms is shared and prioritized organization-wide.”
Amy Haddad, Director, Policy and Government Affairs: “AMCHP’s support has been essential to me during two breastfeeding experiences. I was able to provide my older child exclusively with breastmilk until she reached one year, because I was given the time, space, and support needed. I’m now nursing my 7-month-old and again am able to comfortably pump, store, and clean my parts during my work day.
“I also appreciate that our office culture is one that respects the break times needed and discusses openly the needs of nursing moms so that we feel highly supported throughout our experience.”
That support is not commonly felt among working mothers, according to the coalition. “Support for nursing mothers in the workplace is not universal,” the coalition said. “The Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Awards seek to highlight and applaud those businesses who are doing the right thing.”
The coalition noted three common factors among winners of the award over the past four years: time, space, and support for their employees.
“We are exceptionally proud to be recognized as a Gold Level recipient of the regional Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Awards,” Freeman said.
Additional contacts: MBC at www.mdbfc.org, DCBFC at www.dcbfc.org.