|| DukeMedNews || Making Room for a New Mother in the Workplace

Suggested lead: The workplace is becoming a friendlier place for nursing mothers. Tom Britt has more.

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More and more employers are making room in the workplace for new mothers, even to the extent of providing private rooms with breast pumps so the new mother can return to work and provide breast milk for her new baby. So the new mother doesn’t have to decide between a career and her family. The policy changes are not necessarily out of the goodness of the boss’s heart, however. Statistics have shown that new mothers who breast feed have much lower absenteeism rates. Donna Monroe is a lactation specialist with Duke University Medical Center. She says the benefits to the employer extend to the long-term health of the employee.

“She has less chance of getting breast cancer, less chance of osteoporosis, and she helps lose her weight faster. It helps her uterus contract and go back into her pelvis more quickly.”

Monroe says more and more companies are finding it makes good business sense to work with the new mother. Add to all that the fact that in many states, it is now illegal to prevent a mother from nursing her baby. I’m Tom Britt.

Monroe says even today, it is typically the mother who is expected to take off work to tend to a sick baby.

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“I have data that show that mothers who breast feed miss far less work because of sick babies. They’ll have fewer ear infections, less diarrhea, less asthma, eczema, allergies.”