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Milk Maids II: Tips For Employers:

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

1. Be Clear And Specific About The Program: While more and more woman are getting more vocal about their choice to breastfeed, few employers can boast the same “enthusiasm”. Experts recommend that every corporate HR department keep abreast of the situation by creating a New Mom’s handbook including information on breastfeeding and expressing milk in the workplace.

From state-of-the art lactation rooms, peer support groups and/or education for new moms, all the benefits should be easily spelled out for all employees (including dads).

2. Room For Growth: Growing companies realize that the number of women in the workforce (also) continues to grow. From young moms to established career women, more and more ladies either “need” to work or choose to, and doing both is no longer considered “taboo”. One of the easiest benefits to offer nursing moms on the job is offering them a lactation room. From a former conference area to an interview room, it’s fairly simple to meet the needs of the health conscious women. While most women can suffice with a ventilated room that has electrical power and ample space for placing the pump, experts say ideally, the room should also host a sink for washing up, a small refrigerator or freezer (for storing expressed mil and cold drinks for moms) and labels and markers for labeling milk and other personal belongings. Not necessary, but nice, are phones, computer with Internet connection, rocking chair and a stack of magazines.

3. Show Support: Regardless of how much you can actually “do” for the moms in your company, the one thing you should do convey support for nursing moms. Let them know that you are willing to work with them to accommodate their needs. You may even consider offering manager training on the issue and work toward working out the logistics in an effort to assuage concerns, cultural biases against nursing, and other issues.

4. Set The Example For Concern, Compassion, And Understanding: Reach out to moms by making genuine inquiries as to their status, needs, and concerns. It’s always reassuring and helpful for nursing moms (already in an “awkward” position) to know (or feel like) they have someone on their side.

5. Make A Group Effort: Set up or give new moms the thumbs up for establishing a support group. Consider inviting local speakers to talk to the women or give them the time and space to exchange ideas and advice. You can also connect moms to each other via company email and allow them to exchange information during lunch and break times.

6. Play Fair: Consider Establishing an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) or some kind of venue for support for your employees, a place they can go to address their cares and concerns. And, don’t forget to express your support “publicly” throughout the company.

7. Be Reasonable: Even if your company rules generally do not allow for door locks on offices, you may want to consider revising (old) rules are coming up with appropriate alternatives to offer working nursing moms privacy and “freedom”.

8. Invest In The Future: Make life easier for nursing employees by investing in the equipment necessary for getting the job done, and allowing them to get back to work in a timely fashion. It’s probably a better ides (say experts) than to have each women lug in her own.

9. Survey Says: Take a poll and find out from new moms what THEY may want or need (from you). Once you find out the areas that need “improvement”, publish the results to this group and other employees showing your support and commitment. Make the necessary changes and inform employees of these too.

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