Conference on breastfeeding-friendly worksites in North Dakota

Staff reports

The North Dakota Department of Health, Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, will be hosting the Business Case for Breastfeeding (BCB) Training scheduled for June 7 in the Pioneer Room of the State Capitol Building and on June 8 in rooms 210 and 212 in the Judicial Wing of the State Capitol Building, Bismarck, N.D. The training will focus on increasing workplace support for breastfeeding women by conducting effective outreach, education and technical assistance activities with employers.

“If a woman has support in her place of employment, she likely will breastfeed her infant for a longer duration. This will give the baby an edge in overall health, including fewer infections and less disease, obesity and diabetes,” said Deanna Askew, Healthy Communities coordinator for the North Dakota Department of Health.

According to research, breastfeeding also benefits the employer. Such benefits include lower health-care costs because breastfed babies are generally healthier, lower absenteeism, and lower turnover rates since women are more likely to return to their previous jobs if the company provides support for breastfeeding mothers. These benefits can provide considerable cost savings  to employers.  

Cathy Carothers, BLS, IBCLC, FILCA, keynote speaker and an author of the training material, has provided more than 350 training events in nearly every U.S. city and several foreign countries. She specializes in providing counseling and lactation training for health professionals. In her role as training and outreach coordinator for the BCB training, she will share her experiences and offer technical assistance strategies.

The second day, June 8, will consist of strategic planning sessions and community outreach planning.

Federal law now requires support at work for some mothers who breastfeed. This law states that employers shall provide reasonable break times and a private, non-bathroom location for an

employee to pump breast milk for her child for up to one year after a child’s birth. The North Dakota Department of Health is supporting this law by encouraging employers to apply for an “infant friendly worksite” designation. 

For more information about the federal law, the infant friendly designations, and the Business Case for Breastfeeding training, contact Deanna Askew, North Dakota Department of Health, at 701-328-4568.