Breastfeeding protections for working mothers increases productivity
Happy baby, happy mom. Photo credit: iStock.

Even if you have the world’s greatest job, going back to work can be a tough transition for new mothers. With so many challenges ahead of them, working mothers need to feel as though they are welcome back in their offices once their maternity leave is over and not feel as though they need to fight for safe and separate breastfeeding areas during their regular nine-to-five hours.   

 

This is exactly why an amendment was written into the Affordable Care Act (ACA) back in 2014 that requires employers to provide a reasonable break time for employees to express breast milk for their infants one year after they were born. The employers are also required to “provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.” 

 

Aside from these conditions being ideal for working mothers, It has been found that these comfortable conditions have been found to improve their overall productivity. 

 

“Through the work of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Gynecology,” explains Jennifer Jordan, Director of Mom and Baby at breast pump supplier Aeroflow, “we know that breastfeeding is best for the mother and best for the baby. So through the ACA’s and the protection of mothers being able to have a sanitary and proper place to pump we know that it carries over to the long-term health of the mother as well as that of the infant. If a mother is given a place to pump we know that she is going to miss less work because her child is less likely to have a host of illnesses throughout that first year of life. Breastfed babies have a lower risk of ear infections, certain stomach conditions, they have a stronger immune system which allows the baby to be healthier which in turn allows the mother to be more productive.”

 

Basically, the less a new mother has to worry about while they are away from their babies the more they will be able to focus on their tasks at work. A study cited in the New York Times back in January stated that “80 percent of women with professional degrees or doctorates have a child by the time they are 44”. This proves that most professional women feel confident that they are able to juggle both a demanding career while starting their families and in turn deserve the best conditions upon their return from maternity leave. 

“I think anytime as an employee you feel like you have support and understanding from your employer you feel more engaged and more productive. Knowing that you matter I think helps take employees to the next level,” explains Jordan, “I would never go into the restroom to eat my lunch, so a mother should never be expected to express milk for her infant. It’s wonderful that these mothers are now protected.”