Competition for quality employees is higher than ever. Additionally, mothers are the fastest-growing group in the U.S. labor force. One thing an employer can do to stand out from the crowd is to truly be a family-friendly workplace, including supporting new parents and breastfeeding moms. 

Learn more about how to position your business to be a place parents will want to work.

The Business Case for Breastfeeding

Retaining good employees after childbirth is good for your company or organization’s bottom line. Companies who supportively facilitate continued breastfeeding are more likely to retain employees after childbirth. This decreases costs of turnover and lost productivity. 

Breastfeeding also gives kids a serious health boost. Both moms and dads of breastfed children take less sick time off work for children’s illnesses. Finally, the families of breastfed babies have lower health care and insurance costs. This translates into savings for employer-provided benefit plans.

Get more information on the business case for breastfeeding from the Health Resources Services Administration. 

Creating a Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace

Creating a breastfeeding friendly workplace is simple and straightforward using the four steps below. 

Visit the Health Resources Services Administration website for a complete employer breastfeeding support took kit, including example policies, promotional flyers, drop-in newsletter communications, and more. 

The federal Office on Women’s Health also provides comprehensive employer solutions for supporting nursing moms at work, including tips for how to accommodate breastfeeding by industry and workplace type. 

  1. Create a private place for milk expression that is not a bathroom.
    • If an employee has an office with a door that locks, they may prefer to pump in their office.
    • For all other employees, create a designated lactation room. The room does not need to be fancy, a comfortable chair, small table, easily accessible electric outlet, and a locking door are all that is really needed.
    • Employees may bring their own coolers and ice packs. However, if possible, provide access to a refrigerator or freezer to safely store pumped breastmilk.
    • Have a sign-up sheet if the lactation room will be used by multiple employees, so they can each have a private time to pump.
    • Provide training to other employees on respecting the use and privacy of the lactation space.
    • Pro Tip: Include employees who are currently breastfeeding or who have breastfed in the past in choosing the lactation room location and setting it up to make it efficient and comfortable. Including employees with experience let’s them know you value their breastfeeding goals.
  1. Provide flexible breaks and work options.
    • Breastfeeding parents need to express milk approximately every three hours. 
    • Talk with employees about their needs and provide a flexible break structure that accommodates their schedule, including at least 15 minutes to pump, and time to set up and go to and from the lactation room.
    • Pro Tip:    Check in with your employee after the first week and make adjustments if needed. This is a great time to reiterate that you support their breastfeeding goals.
  1. Provide education and resources for your employees about breastfeeding.
    • Make sure your employees know how you support breastfeeding in the workplace. Have these conversations prior to the arrival of the baby, so that the new parent feels supported and ready to return to work.
    • Provide helpful information in the lactation rooms, like posters with helpful tips for maintaining breastfeeding after returning to work, safe storage of breastmilk, and contact information for local support resources. If would like print resources for your lactation room, give Mid-Shore WIC a call. 
  1. Provide support for breastfeeding to your employees.
    • Managers and supervisors should be trained to have a positive, accepting attitude toward breastfeeding, to understand its benefits, and the company’s policies and practices for encouraging breastfeeding. 
    • Pro Tip: Take pride in your efforts and be sure to let current and prospective employees know of the steps you’ve taken to support breastfeeding parents. This can be a powerful recruiting tool!

Employment Laws Regarding Pregnancy & Breastfeeding


The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires covered employers to provide breastfeeding employees reasonable break time every time they need to express milk, for one year after the child’s birth. The employer is not required to compensate the employee during the break periods.

The employer must also provide a place, other than a bathroom, for the employee to express breast milk.  If these requirements impose undue hardship, an employer that employs fewer than 50 employees is may not be subject to these requirements, but must be granted an exemption by the federal government.

U.S. Department of Labor Resources: 


For employers with 15 or more employees, the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) forbids discrimination based on pregnancy when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, such as leave and health insurance, and any other term or condition of employment.

Additionally,iIf a woman is temporarily unable to perform her job due to a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth, the employer or other covered entity must treat her in the same way as it treats any other temporarily disabled employee.


× Chat with WhatsApp