Traditionally, most might think that bringing children, especially infants and babies, to work would be a detriment; considering how needy and noisy they can be. Of course, a cranky baby that starts bawling in the office is a massive distraction, but a well-tended to baby is not only quiet, it can boost productivity in the office.
As such, organisations are slowly allowing mothers to bring their babies to work and are offering daycare services and options to assist mothers in caring for their children. When properly cared for, babies at work can serve as motivation and morale boosters, increasing efficiency throughout the office and can also serve as a fantastic recruiting tool.
However, there is not a lot of information out there about allowing mothers to breastfeed their child at work. Organisations that provide support for breastfeeding mothers are few and far between, especially in the APAC region. Those that do provide such support however, have reported significant benefits.
Companies successful at retaining valued employees after childbirth find that two components can make the difference: providing dedicated space (which does not have to be very big at all) for breastfeeding employees to express milk in privacy, and providing worksite lactation support.
The payoff is significant: more satisfied, loyal employees and cost savings to the business. These savings are seen in such areas as the retention of experienced employees, a reduction in sick times taken by both moms and dads who have sick children, and lower healthcare and insurance costs.
Infants who are breastfed are generally healthier than those that aren’t. Human milk helps to boost the infant immune system, assisting in protecting the child from common illnesses. Mothers and fathers of breastfed infants typically spend more time at work rather than taking leave to care for sick children.
The reduced healthcare costs for breastfed infants can also translate to lower overall medical insurance claims for businesses. Babies who are not breastfed visit the physician more often, spend more days in the hospital, and require more prescriptions than breastfed infants.
Investing in a worksite lactation support programme can also provide huge dividends to a company. As mentioned previously, lower turnover rates can be expected should there be adequate support provided by employers. Being able to keep experienced employees after childbirth means lowering or eliminating the costs a company otherwise would incur to hire temporary staff or to recruit, hire, and train replacement staff, both of which involve additional lost revenue while getting these new staff up to speed.
Also as mentioned previously, is the fact that employees whose companies provide breastfeeding support consistently report improved morale, better satisfaction with their jobs, and higher productivity. The support also helps parents feel at ease when transitioning back work, thus leading to them to return to work sooner.
Providing a supportive environment for breastfeeding employees can also improve overall company image and enhances your ability to recruit quality staff. Many companies with support programs more often than not receive local, state, and even national recognition and media attention. This is especially true due to the relative rarity of such support.