King, Sondra L.
B.S. (Bachelor of Science)
School of Family, Consumer and Nutrition Sciences
Mothers who breast feed their children face a difficult decision when the time comes to return to work. Unfortunately, many women cease breast feeding and turn to bottle feeding as an alternative because their employer is unable or unwilling to compromise with them to allow breast feeding to continue. The attitude of businesses, which is predominantly negative against breast feeding in the workplace, is unfortunate due to the many positive effects breast feeding provides to mother and child. The purpose of this study is to find out exactly what businesses are or are not doing for their female employees regarding pregnancy and breast feeding. Some of the issues addressed are the following: on-site day care; adequate refrigeration for milk storage; comfortable lounge areas for breast feeding or breast pumping; flexible hours; and extended breaks and days off. In addition, how businesses can implement breast feeding in the workplace and what materials would be helpful to managers to do so will be discussed. The data supplied to answer these questions and to make a justifiable analysis of current business trends regarding breast feeding came from a survey of large businesses in the DeKalb County area. This analysis, therefore, is limited to current business attitudes of the DeKalb County area only. The research methods for completing this report included sending an eleven question survey to 35 DeKalb County businesses with the option to participate in a survey project regarding company policies for pregnancy, maternity leave and breast feeding. Only ten of the thirty-five companies participated in the study. Of the responding companies, some currently do work with female employees so that they may continue breast feeding at work. Of the businesses in support of breast feeding at work, most supply adequate storage for milk, flexible time schedules and private lounge areas. None of the companies have on-site day care facilities which means that the mother must be allowed to leave work more often or that the baby is brought to her at different times during the day. Some mothers only desire to pump at work so that their child will still be able to be fed breast milk despite the mother's work schedule. Of the companies against breast feeding or pumping at work, the main reason was due to impracticality or inadequate facilities. However, some businesses are willing to change in the future to better meet the needs of their female employees on this issue if given appropriate literature on ways to incorporate breast feeding in the workplace. Due to the necessity of dual incomes in today's society, businesses supporting in-office breast feeding could tremendously help today's working mother. This is a new issue that is increasingly becoming a concern to mothers and employers.
Eugene, Linda, "Current trends in breast feeding promotion in businesses" (1992). Honors Capstones. 360.
Northern Illinois University
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