About The Program
About the Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite Program
In 1995, the Texas legislature recognized "a mother's responsibility to both her job and her child when she returns to work and acknowledges that a woman's choice to breast-feed benefits the family, the employer, and society." DSHS created the Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite Program, as directed by Health and Safety Code 165, Breastfeeding, by providing minimum criteria for Mother-Friendly Worksite designation and maintaining a listing of Texas Mother-Friendly Worksites. The Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite Program seeks to reduce barriers to breastfeeding by increasing the proportion of employers who have worksite lactation support policies and programs. The program recognizes employers who develop and maintain policies to proactively support employees in combining working and breastfeeding by providing for:
- Work schedule flexibility to allow adequate time for the expression of breastmilk.
- Access to a clean, safe water source and a sink to wash hands and clean pumping equipment.
- Access to clean running water to wash hands and clean pumping equipment.
- Access to hygienic options for storage of expressed breastmilk.
Businesses that have established a written worksite breastfeeding support policy may submit a completed application and a copy of their policy to DSHS. The application is reviewed for compliance with designation standards. Worksites that meet the applicable standards for designation receive a notification letter from the department, a certificate suitable for framing and display, and a listing in the Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite Directory. Worksites that do not meet the applicable standards for designation are notified and offered technical assistance to achieve designation.
Evaluated through an expert review process, the Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite Program (MFWP) is recognized as a practice-tested obesity prevention intervention by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded Center for Training and Research Translation (Center TRT). The evaluation process included review by Center TRT, a team of two expert reviewers, and a panel of CDC staff. To date, the program is the only worksite breastfeeding support initiative to receive this recognition.
The MFWP encourages organizational policy and practice changes to develop worksite cultures that support employees who choose to breastfeed after returning to work. It bestows official recognition upon worksites that adhere to the program’s criteria for being “mother-friendly,” including having a written and communicated policy that provides space in the worksite for breastmilk expression, flexible work schedules for breastfeeding mothers, and access to hygienic breastmilk storage options (refrigerator or personal cooler). Additional recognition is given for worksites with more comprehensive worksite lactation support programs.
Evaluation results showed:
- A large increase in the number of designated sites over a two-year period.
- Worksite respondents’ satisfaction with materials designed to support worksite-level implementation.
- A high level of adherence to program elements.
Program Best Practices
Since the establishment of the Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite Program in 1995, significant best-practice guidance has been produced to promote and inform worksite breastfeeding programs and policies, including defining levels of adequate, expanded, and comprehensive workplace breastfeeding support.3, 21-23 Evidence indicates that worksite breastfeeding support policies are most effective when they facilitate: (1) privacy for milk expression; (2) flexible scheduling and work options to accommodate 24,25 breaks in a typical work day for milk expression; (3) dissemination of breastfeeding information and education to female and male employees during pregnancy and after the baby's birth; and (4) a positive, supportive environment from management and co-workers for employees who are combining work and breastfeeding.3
What Businesses Are Already Mother Friendly?
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It is so important to support breastfeeding either with flexible work schedules or clean/private area to pump and store a baby's milk.
I work daily with lactating mothers and hear how much of an impact it has on whether they continue to nurse.