The Women’s Health Resource Library is pleased to announce a “Hats Off” to Machias Savings Bank. The bank recently implemented a lactation room for their employees who are breast feeding.
By helping to ease the transition back to work for new mothers who are breastfeeding, MSB is helping families to continue a practice with known health benefits.
Studies have shown that more women make the decision to breast feed and will continue to breast feed for a longer time, if they have breastfeeding support in the work place.
Machias Savings Bank employs 156 women, 79 of those in the Machias office, who set up the bank’s first lactation room.
According to Shauna Macdonald, human resources specialist at MSB, it was not difficult to create the space. As one department moved to another location in the building, space became available in the vacated area, which happened to be in a more secluded part of the building.
Asked how the room has been received by employees, Ms. MacDonald responded, “Fabulous, they love it. It takes the stress away from having to find an empty office. Plus it is a great, cozy, comfortable space.”
“Having a private, comfortable space for someone to be able to breastfeed or pump makes the transition a little bit easier. These women can feel more comfortable coming back to work while still able to do what is best for their babies,” added Ms. MacDonald.
In 2011, the Surgeon General of the United States issued a Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding. This initiative is aimed at the health care system, employers, researchers and communities, with a goal to educate and support breastfeeding families.
Breast milk has long been recognized as the healthiest feeding method for both baby and mother. In addition to the multitude of health benefits, breastfeeding also enhances mother-infant bonding.
Financially, the choice to breastfeed can save up to $1500 in the first year. And healthier babies mean less health care costs and fewer days of missed work for parents.
Breastfeeding may protect some mothers from postpartum depression, a serious problem that affects 13% of new mothers.
Because we know that breastfeeding can help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, diarrhea and vomiting, respiratory infections, asthma, childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes, breastfeeding is recommended for at least 12 months by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Ob-Gyns, the American College of Nurse-Midwives, and the American Public Health Association.
In 2010, the Affordable Care Act included a provision requiring employers to provide workplace accommodations that enable employees who are breast feeding to express milk. Employers are required to provide a clean private place, not a restroom, where employees can express milk.
Machias Savings Bank has taken the lead in implementing this provision and providing for the health and wellness of their employees and their babies.