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The Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington presented their annual Outstanding Employer Award to Pregnancy Aid of Snohomish County in February. The Coalition’s award program has been promoting breastfeeding as a strong worksite policy since 1999.
Pregnancy Aid of Snohomish County is a free service for pregnant women and new mothers with seven sites in Western Washington. According to Kimberly Radtke, Program Coordinator with the Breastfeeding Coalition, Pregnancy Aid received the award due to the level of commitment the organization makes for breastfeeding employees and volunteers. “The selection committee was excited to recognize Pregnancy Aid because they are setting a precedent for other employers,” Radtke explained. “They are telling their clients that breastfeeding is important and can be accommodated at work with no problem.” Criteria for the award include having a written breastfeeding policy and worksite environments that support breastfeeding.
At Pregnancy Aid, mothers may bring breastfeeding infants to work until the child is the appropriate age for daycare. There has never been a need to designate a special room for breastfeeding or pumping, since administrators and employees accept the presence of babies in the workplace. Carolyn McGinty, WIC Program Coordinator, accepted the award on behalf of Pregnancy Aid of Snohomish County. Whereas some worksites associate breastfeeding support with decreased efficiency, McGinty reflected that accommodating breastfeeding “more than offset the effort that would be required to recruit, interview and hire a new employee.”
For more resources on the benefits of breastfeeding policies at worksites, see the Business Case for Breastfeeding.
Nominees for outstanding employers can be submitted to the Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington here.
Featured: May 2010