Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that the decline in breastfeeding rates from birth to six months indicate “that mothers may not be getting the support they need from health care providers, family members and employers to meet their breastfeeding goals.”1 Some organizations are taking strides to change this trend and provide more support for women who are breastfeeding. However, many challenges remain and there is much work to do.
World Breastfeeding Week is the first week in August, we spoke with some HBA Members to hear more about their experiences breastfeeding, here is what they had to share:
“My first son was 8 months old when I needed to go on a business trip to Florida. I had never been away from Sam up until that point. I was still breastfeeding and so the idea of pumping and then trying to get through airport security with a week's worth of breast milk seemed impossible. But then, the health and wellness team at Roche approached me asking if I needed help shipping my breast milk back home; I was elated. Not only did they help me ship my milk back home, but they also coordinated with the hotel making sure that I had a fridge in my room and they set up pumping stations near the conference (complete with hospital-grade symphony pumps) so that we wouldn't have to walk a mile and a half back to our rooms during the day to pump. At the end of the week, I was given a refrigerated box to pack up all of my breast milk. Roche paid to have my breast milk shipped overnight directly to my home. My milk made it home before I did. I couldn't believe how easy they had made it and I was so thankful to be working for an organization that understood the importance of breastfeeding. Roche didn't have to help me, but they did and that is why I love this organization.” -Jennievee Huseman
"I nursed my son for the first 15 months of his life while finishing business school and starting to work full-time. Luckily, Roche was and is a very breastfeeding friendly environment, offering well-equipped lactation rooms with hospital-grade pumps and a program to ship pumped milk home while on business travel. I made sure to add 20-minute pumping blocks in my calendar 2-3 times a day - usually, coworkers respected that I needed to end meetings on time. One thing I vividly remember is the many multi-hour conference calls taken from home: being hooked up to the double pump and occasionally stopping to un-mute myself and comment on a topic was certainly multi-tasking at its best. It was also interesting to see the difference between school and the workplace - school was in many ways less flexible than the corporate environment, as there was a lack of private rooms, fridge storage space was scarce and not enough time to pump between classes. It made me appreciate my employer so much more. I'm not sure I would have been able to have this long breastfeeding journey had I not joined the supportive environment at Roche." -Maria Rompf