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One great way to support the nursing mothers in your company is to have a support group. Many companies have social groups, such as a Parent’s Network, that supports the employees in the company with similar interests or needs. Having a group for nursing mothers with a small amount of funding for activities like a speaker, information sessions, or even a group get-together can really help mothers transition and be productive in the workplace. Supporting a corporate nursing mothers group is a terrific way to support your mothers and enable them to help each other. Here are some ways that a support group can help and benefit your employees and company.
Information Session with a Lactation Consultant
Bringing in a Board Certified Lactation Consultant to give an information session to working moms is very helpful. The session should focus on issues pertaining to nursing while going back to work, pumping milk, concerns about supply, and breastfeeding problems that may arise. It’s also a good idea for her to explain how babies grow during that first one to two years and why breastfeeding for a year and beyond is so important. This helps encourage moms that the work they put into giving their babies breastmilk is worth the effort. It’s best to bring in a lactation consultant every six months so new mothers can benefit from the session. Since babies change their feeding habits as they grow and the issues and needs of breastfeeding mothers may change over time, another session in that timeframe will also benefit mothers with older babies with new questions.
Group Question and Answer Session
Another helpful way to support mothers is to hold a group question and answer session with a lactation consultant. Moms can ask questions to each other or to a lactation consultant on issues they may have. It may be beneficial for a company to have an HR representative available for questions about the company’s benefits and policies. These sessions benefit everyone because moms can listen to what methods or solutions work for them now or in the future. This is especially true for mothers who may have a more unique situation, so having both a lactation consultant and HR representative in the same room can help them resolve their issues more readily.
Informal Discussions or Meetings
Mothers can also discuss their experiences working and pumping milk with each other. In these sessions, mothers often learn tips and methods from other mothers, what might be known as “tribal knowledge.” A mother might learn from another mom about a hands-free bra that might work better for her, what schedule she has for giving fresh or frozen milk to daycare, or what snacks are good to eat while pumping milk. It’s nice to have an organized time for mothers to meet so mothers can make time in their busy calendars. It is particularly beneficial for mothers in the same company to support each other this way because they share their experiences and tips working in the same system.
Company Mailing List and Group Website
A mailing list of nursing mothers within the company is a great way for mothers to exchange ideas, keep each other informed of breastfeeding news, or just keep in touch. A group website could have information on the mother’s rooms in the company and local or corporate breastfeeding resources. This is particularly helpful for large companies with multiple sites. Mothers who need to travel to another site can find where the mother’s rooms are located and what is provided in the room, such as what type of hospital-grade pumps are available. Or if they have left some part of their kit behind, they could look up where to go locally to buy a replacement.
Mothers in the support group can also have informal get-togethers for themselves or with their families. This helps give moms the emotional community support that encourages them to meet their breastfeeding goals. They can meet each other’s babies and family, and build friendships. This also builds a positive family-friendly work environment for your company and build connections between co-workers.
A corporate nursing mothers support group is a great way to support mothers, and your company benefits by helping increase their productivity. There are many ways to implement these ideas, such as combining an information session with a Q&A to follow afterwards. To find out how to best start your own nursing mothers support group, contact Healthy Horizons to customize a plan to help you implement these ideas in your company for a family-friendly work environment.