Muskegon, MI – The Muskegon County Breastfeeding Coalition is seeking nominations for the Muskegon County Breastfeeding Friendly Business of the Year Award. To be considered breastfeeding friendly, the business must make it easy for women returning to work to continue nursing their infants. Examples of a breastfeeding friendly business include one that:
•Has a written policy supporting breastfeeding for employees and/or customers
•Offers a flexible schedule for breastfeeding mothers
•Provides a separate private space for breastfeeding or pumping/expressing milk
Nominations can be submitted online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/BFAward2014 and will be accepted throughout August in celebration of Breastfeeding Awareness Month.
Breastfeeding is an essential part of the overall reproductive cycle for the mother, resulting in faster recovery from pregnancy. It may also reduce her risk of breast cancer. A healthy mother means an employee who is able to contribute more productively to her workplace.
Breastfeeding is also the healthiest way to feed infants. Breast milk is full of important ingredients that boost an infant’s immune system and reduce the risk of many common childhood illnesses and infections. Breastfed children also have higher IQ’s and may be less likely to become obese.
Benefits to employers for supporting breastfeeding include lower medical costs and health insurance claims for breastfeeding employees and their infants, reduced turnover rates, lower absenteeism rates, improved productivity and raised employee morale and loyalty to the company.
Businesses nominated for last year’s distinction included the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program at Public Health Muskegon County, The Lakes Mall, The Healing Light, Ryke’s Bakery, O’Brien Family Chiropractic, and the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District. The Muskegon Area Intermediate School District was the 2013 award winner.
In June 2014, Governor Snyder signed the Breastfeeding Antidiscrimination Act (Act 197 of PA 2014) into law giving women the right to breastfeed a child in any place that is open to the general public.
Also in June 2014, Senator Hansen worked to ensure $2M in state funds (SB 763) so that Medicaid-eligible women have access to breast pumps to support and encourage breastfeeding.
Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide break time for nursing mothers.