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Mother-Friendly Worksite

Information for Public Health Partners

Information for Public Health Partners

Breastfeeding is best for mom and baby.

Breastfeeding is a well-documented prevention strategy to protect against both common and rare forms of childhood illness and also against chronic and costly conditions including asthma diabetes, obesity, some forms of cancer, and other poor health outcomes. Internationally, breastfeeding promotion is recognized as among the most cost-effective of all public health interventions. In the United States, it is estimated that greater than $13 billion dollars in pediatric health-care costs and more than 900 deaths occur per year in the United States related to sub-optimal breastfeeding.8 This estimate considered only some of the health outcomes associated with breastfeeding.

Most new mothers in Texas want to breastfeed.

More than 75 percent initiate breastfeeding soon after birth. But few women continue to breastfeed according to medical recommendations. For infants born in 2007, only 14 percent of Texas infants were exclusively breastfed for six months, and only 23 percent of Texas infants continued to receive at least some breastmilk through their first year of life, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.426

Rates of breastfeeding are particularly low among employed mothers.

Nationally, studies show that full-time employment decreases breastfeeding duration by an average of more than eight weeks, that mothers are most likely to wean their infants within the first month after returning to work, 29 and that only 10 percent of full-time working mothers exclusively breastfeed for six months.25In a large, statewide survey of low-income working mothers, almost 60 percent reported that they were not able to breastfeed for as long as they wanted. Concern about combining work and breastfeeding was the leading reported barrier in Texas to breastfeeding initiation, continuation, and exclusivity among women who worked after giving birth.30

Women represent the fastest growing segment of the U.S. workforce.

Women now make up 47 percent of the total civilian labor force, and the majority of working women are employed full time.27 Women of child-bearing age form a large segment of the labor market, with 60 percent of all women 16 and older working or looking for work.24 Among all women with children under age 3, most (60 percent) are in the workforce. According to a U.S. Census report, 42 percent of all women giving birth to their first child were working by three-months postpartum. For women who worked during pregnancy, 58 percent had returned to work by three months, and 42 percent were working full time.28

The good news is, most employers want to help.

Once they're aware of the issues related to working and breastfeeding, many employers report that they accommodate their employees because it is "the right thing to do." Also, businesses benefit from providing programs that support their breastfeeding employees. Supportive worksite policies have been shown to be effective at improving breastfeeding outcomes and also benefit employers through reduced absenteeism, lower health-care costs, increased employee retention, increased productivity and loyalty, and improved public relations.3 Participation by both female and male employees in worksite lactation programs has been shown to significantly improve breastfeeding outcomes and reduce health problems, while also resulting in a significant return on investment for employers - from two to three dollars for every dollar invested.

It doesn't take a lot to start a lactation support program.

Programs can be basic, such as providing adequate time and space for expressing breastmilk, or more comprehensive. Comprehensive programs can include a wide spectrum of benefits, services, and educational offerings that maximize breastfeeding support for employees and, sometimes, their partners. The returns to a business are directly related to how comprehensive the program is, with more comprehensive programs having a greater return.


Lactation Support Survey Report: Select Public Employers

This report provides highlights from the Mother-Friendly Worksite Policy Initiative Technical Assistance Pilot Program 2011 Employee Survey.
Download PDF (253.90 KB)

MFWPI Participating Business Full Report

During December 2010, SUMA/Orchard Social Marketing, Inc., on behalf of the Texas Department of State Health Services, conducted in-depth interviews with businesses participating in the Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite Program.
Download PDF (2.95 MB)

MFWPI Outreach Stakeholder Full Report

During December 2010, SUMA/Orchard Social Marketing, Inc., on behalf of the Texas Department of State Health Services, conducted in-depth interviews with key stakeholders in the fields of breastfeeding and mother-friendly worksite promotion.
Download PDF (4.80 MB)

MFWPI Non-Participating Business Full Report

During January and February 2011, SUMA/Orchard Social Marketing, Inc., on behalf of the Texas Department of State Health Services, conducted in-depth telephone interviews with a diverse sample of business representatives across Texas.
Download PDF (3.95 MB)

MFWPI Focus Group Full Report

During March 2011, SUMA/Orchard Social Marketing, Inc. conducted fifteen focus groups with a total of 119 participants in six Texas cities on behalf of the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Download PDF (5.29 MB)

MFWPI Program Evaluation Report: Executive Summary

This executive summary summarizes the full evaluation report for the multi-faceted two year initiative--the Mother-Friendly Worksite Policy Initiative (MFWPI).
Download PDF (742.45 KB)

MFWPI Program Evaluation Full Report

From February 4, 2010-August 3, 2012, the DSHS Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite Program engaged in a multi-faceted initiative, the Mother-Friendly Worksite Policy Initiative, to expand the program's reach and impact. This report summarizes the MFWPI project
Download PDF (1.80 MB)

MFWPI Program Evaluation Report Appendix 1

Appendices A-D of the MFWPI Program Evaluation Report
Download PDF (4.40 MB)

MFWPI Program Evaluation Report Appendices 2

Appendices E-I of the MFWPI Program Evaluation Report
Download PDF (6.81 MB)

MFWPI Program Evaluation-Images Of Selected Successes

Photos and images of selected tangibles developed through the Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite Policy Initiative.
Download PDF (5.44 MB)

Advertising Campaign 2012

Strategic summary and sample ads from an advertising campaign that promoted the Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite program.
Download PDF (1.89 MB)

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