Breastfeeding is a very effective, low cost intervention for improving health outcomes in
women and children. Reasons as to whether a woman breastfeeds her infant and for how long can be complex depending on the environment in which she lives, but research shows that returning to work is associated with a significantly shorter duration of breastfeeding. In Louisiana, breastfeeding rates are very low compared to the rest of the country ; only 56.9% of women initiate breastfeeding and only 30.3% are breastfeeding at 6 months.
To assist women in providing breast milk for their babies after they return to work, the Mary Amelia Center (MAC) and the Louisiana Breastfeeding Coalition collaborate to manage the Louisiana Workplace Breastfeeding Support Program. The program seeks to inform employers throughout the state about the federal law that supports breastfeeding employees by allowing them break time and non-bathroom space to pump breast milk. Additionally, we freely assist employers in complying with the law by providing them with tools to establish workplace lactation programs and we designate businesses that comply with the law as Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplaces. Businesses that also have a written policy in place supporting their breastfeeding employees can be designated as Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Champions.
In order to raise awareness of this program and to encourage businesses to apply for designation, MAC launched a campaign last fall with the tagline “Is Your Workplace Breastfeeding-Friendly?” The campaign was displayed on 10 buses, 10 bus shelters, and 2 billboards throughout Orleans and Jefferson parishes starting on August 1, 2014 and continuing throughout the fall.
The campaign which pointed people who wanted to learn more to the website Nolamom.org ,is still displayed in some locations! We are currently analyzing data to determine its success.