University of Georgia Survey Examines Employers’ Support of Breastfeeding Mothers

Rachel McCardel

A new study by Rachel McCardel, a doctoral student in the College of Public Health, and Heather Padilla, an assistant professor of health promotion and behavior at the University of Georgia, finds that although progress has been made, working mothers still face obstacles in obtaining quality and accessible breastfeeding resources in the workplace.

Over a decade ago, federal regulations were enacted requiring employers to provide unpaid break time and a space other than a restroom for employees to be able to express breast milk. The authors conducted a survey to see if employers were complying with these requirements.

The authors found that most respondents, nearly 80 percent, had a private space at work to express milk, and around two-thirds of the women reported having break times to breastfeed. Access to other resources like lactation consultants or breast pumps was less common. Many respondents also said there was a general lack of communication about the resources available to them.

Heather Padilla

Dr. Padilla stated that “employers who want to keep valued employees should think about how to create a workplace that considers the challenges that working mothers face. Many women who have young children are in the workforce, and we should be able to make it easier for them to combine those two things. It shouldn’t be a choice of one or the other.”

Dr. Padilla holds a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, a master’s degree in food and nutrition, and a Ph.D. in health promotion and behaviors, all from the University of Georgia.

The full study, “Assessing Workplace Breastfeeding Support Among Working Mothers in the United States,” was published on the website of the journal Workplace Health & Safety. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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