The UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento has received the Mother-Baby-Friendly Workplace Award from the Breastfeeding Coalition of Greater Sacramento, an affiliate of the California Breastfeeding Coalition.
Each year, the coalition presents the award to local organizations that have been nominated by their employees to demonstrate appreciation for businesses that go above and beyond to support their breastfeeding employees.
A mother-baby-friendly workplace provides support for employees, or their partners, who want to provide breast milk for their babies while they are at work. The coalition recognizes workplaces that ensure compliance with existing state and federal laws requiring employers to provide time and space for employees who want to express their breast milk for their babies.
Lindsay Barrett, a clinical nurse in the emergency department, nominated the Medical Center for the honor. Barrett delivered her son Jackson at the facility eight months ago.
“Coming back to work as a new mom was very stressful and overwhelming,” Barrett said. “But I felt overwhelming support from the hospital. I have many places to pump my breast milk and people available to help me.
“I’ve also felt really supported by all of my co-workers,” she added.
Breastfeeding reduces the number of sick days that families must use to care for sick children. In a study of two Southern California corporations, breastfeeding employees had half as many absences because of infant illness as did formula-feeding employees.
Debbie Albert, a clinical nurse and international board-certified lactation consultant, said the Med Center has nine sites where employees who are lactating mothers may express their breast milk. It is in the process of adding four more, she said.
“It is a no-brainer. When employees feel supported, then they in turn support our patients,” Albert said. “It’s critically important to help these mothers and their babies in order to have happy, healthy families, less absenteeism and a successful workplace.”
The Medical Center also recently was honored with the Lactation Care Award, co-sponsored by the International Lactation Consultant Association and the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners. To attain the recognition, a facility must hire individuals with IBCLC certification and have a dedicated lactation support program available five to seven days a week.
The facility also must have demonstrated that it has provided training for its nursing, medical and other staff who care for breastfeeding families, and have implemented special projects that promote, protect and support breastfeeding and the lactation consultant profession.
The Med Center has nine lactation consultants who support new parents.