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accommodations & support

Mother breastfeeding her baby.


Support for breastfeeding mothers includes a range of benefits:

  • writing corporate policies to support breastfeeding women;

  • teaching employees about breastfeeding;

  • providing designated private space for breastfeeding or expressing milk;

  • allowing flexible scheduling during work;

  • providing high-quality breast pumps;

  • and offering professional lactation management services and support.

Other policies outlined throughout this report also help to support breastfeeding mothers, including giving mothers flexible options for returning to work, such as teleworking, part-time work, and extended paid parental leave; and providing on-site or near-site child care.

benefit to employers

  • Increases retention, reducing
    turnover costs


  • Provides a three to one return on investment, largely from healthcare
    costs savings


  • Reduces employee absenteeism

benefit to families

  • Breastfeeding lower mother’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes

  • Improves family economic security

Case Study

case study: HealthPartners

Strong lactation policies boost retention

Companies that create a supportive culture for continued lactation help both new mothers and families, and the organization. Studies have shown that companies with lactation support programs lead to higher retention rates among their maternity workforce. One Midwest bank showed a retention rate of 83% compared to the national average of only 59%.


Additionally, studies have shown that a company’s choice to provide enhanced lactation support also translates into higher job satisfaction, improved morale, and better productivity. 


“Returning to work is a significant transition for mothers who are nursing and being able to continue to breastfeed is important to many of them,” said Andrea Walsh, president and chief executive officer. “We know the benefits of breastfeeding from a health and well-being perspective for both the mother and infant so we want to do everything we can to support our employees in this way.” 


To ensure an adequate supply of human milk once returning to work, working mothers need to express milk every two or three hours. Milk supply often diminishes when mothers are expressing milk with a breast pump versus their infant directly. 


So HealthPartners purchased hospital-grade breast pumps and placed them in many of their lactation rooms. Hospital-grade pumps are more efficient and effective than even the best consumer ones. The company provides each lactating employee with a personal use kit required for using the hospital-grade pumps, as well as proper cleaning ensuring safety between employees.  


“When I returned to work, one of our ‘breastfeeding champions’ met with me to explain the support resources and to give me the breast pump components,” said Annelise Heitkamp, a communications manager who often travels between sites. “The convenience of having the hospital-grade pump there was extremely helpful. I didn’t have to worry about keeping my milk supply strong.” 


A new Minnesota state law, effective January 1, 2022, requires employers to provide breastfeeding parents with reasonable break times each day to express milk and a private room or other location for milk expression, other than a bathroom or a toilet stall, with access to an electrical outlet and in close proximity to the employee’s workspace. 

Location:        Bloomington, Minn.

Employees:    22,000
Industry:         Healthcare
Mother holding her baby

Sample Policy

This Breastfeeding policy sample is ready to be tailored to your company’s needs and should be considered a starting point for setting up your employment policies.

Breast Feeding Policy
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