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Two local agencies win Mother-Baby Friendly Workplace awards

The city of Merced said two governmental bodies received the Mother-Baby Friendly Workplace Award from the Merced County Breastfeeding Coalition and will now be nominated for the 2012 Statewide Workplace Awards.

Before the award ceremony, a walk from Bob Hart Square to Courthouse Park was led by Merced City Councilman and his recently delivered wife Josh and Heidi Pedrozo who said, “Based on the information showing the benefits that breastfeeding has on the development of a child, it is important to have an open environment allowing women the privacy and protection to feed their children.” Many communities across the state also participated in walks throughout the week.

“The Health Department’s Worksite Wellness Committee has worked hard to implement best practices into a breastfeeding friendly work environment. The breastfeeding friendly worksite wellness policy was based on Health Department staff members’ professional experience and ongoing research that demonstrates how breastfeeding protects the health and well-being of infants and their mother,” said Tammy Moss Chandler, director of Merced County’s Department of Public Health, in a news release. “Breast milk is considered the gold standard for infant feeding. It builds against childhood infections, and breastfeeding moms are less likely to develop osteoporosis, diabetes and certain cancers later in life.”

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, lactation accommodation at the workplace can lower medical costs and health insurance claims for breastfeeding employees and their infants, reduce turnover rates, lower absenteeism rates, improve productivity, and raise employee morale and loyalty to the company.

”Any business can and should support women to exercise their lactation accommodation workplace rights,” said Emily Lindsey, Board Member of the California Breastfeeding Coalition. “The businesses awarded are exemplary models of supporting breastfeeding in the workplace, regardless of their company size. California law, and now federal reform requires all employers to provide a private space and break time for breastfeeding mothers to pump breast milk at work.”

California law requires all employers to provide a private space and break time for breastfeeding mothers to pump breastmilk at work.

“Breastfeeding support is a down payment on the next generation of healthy children. We all gain from creating baby friendly environments where mothers are encouraged to breast feed,” said Karen Simmons Gillian, the interim director at the Merced Community Action Agency’s WIC program, in the news release. For information on ways to support breastfeeding visit:

www.wicworks.ca.gov/breastfeeding/BFResources.html

www.calwic.org/reports.aspx

http://www.californiabreastfeeding.org/

http://info.sen.ca.gov/pub/01-02/bill/asm/ab_1001-1050/ab_1025_bill_20011013_chaptered.html

www.breastfeedforall.org

http://ask.hrsa.gov/detail.cfm?PubID=MCH00251

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