UC Davis Medical Center has been named a recipient of the Mother-Baby Friendly Workplace Award from the Breastfeeding Coalition of Greater Sacramento, an affiliate of the California Breastfeeding Coalition. Each year, the coalition presents the award to local organizations that have been nominated by their employees to demonstrate appreciation for businesses that go 'above and beyond' to support their breastfeeding employees. The award will be presented on May 13 at 11 a.m. on the North Steps of the State Capitol.
A mother-baby friendly workplace provides support for employees, or their partners, who want to provide breast milk for their babies while they are at work. The coalition recognizes workplaces that ensure compliance with existing state and federal laws requiring employers to provide time and space for employees who want to express their breast milk for their babies.
Lindsay Barrett, a clinical nurse in the emergency department, nominated UC Davis for the honor. Barrett delivered her son Jackson at UC Davis eight months ago.
“Coming back to work as a new mom was very stressful and overwhelming,” Barrett said. “But I felt overwhelming support from the hospital. I have many places to pump my breastmilk and people available to help me.
“I’ve also felt really supported by all of my co-workers,” she added.
Breastfeeding reduces the number of sick days that families must use to care for sick children. In a study of two Southern California corporations, breastfeeding employees had half as many absences because of infant illness as did formula-feeding employees.
Deborah Albert, a clinical nurse and international board-certified lactation consultant (IBCLC), said UC Davis Medical Center currently has nine sites where employees who are lactating mothers may express their breastmilk. It is in the process of adding four more, she said.
“It is a no brainer. When employees feel supported, then they in turn support our patients,” Albert said. “It’s critically important to help these mothers and their babies in order to have happy, healthy families, less absenteeism, and a successful workplace.”
Albert and her colleague, Cheryl Burstiner, a clinical nurse and IBCLC, and the UC Davis Department of Human Resources’ Marina Podoreanu, work together to support employees who plan to breastfeed their babies. Employees may enroll online to participate. Albert also is the author of several articles on breastfeeding success.
The medical center also recently was honored with the IBCLC Lactation Care Award, co-sponsored by the International Lactation Consultant Association and the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners. To attain the recognition, a facility must hire individuals with IBCLC certification and have a dedicated lactation support program available five-to-seven days a week. The facility also must have demonstrated that it has provided training for its nursing, medical and other staff that care for breastfeeding families, and have implemented special projects that promote, protect and support breastfeeding and the lactation consultant profession. UC Davis Medical Center has nine IBCLC’s who support new parents.