A challenge many new moms are facing today is how to feed and nurture their newborns while working.
Female employees at Summa Health System are able to access its Breastfeeding Program and have 24/7 access to Employee Breastfeeding Stations, where they can privately pump their milk or breastfeed their babies during break times. A hospital-grade pump and tubing are provided at no charge to employees. I’m proud to say that Summa was one of the first employers in Ohio to offer this unique program back in the 1990s. In turn, doctors and nurses can share their own positive stories and encourage patients to breastfeed.
This opportunity doesn’t have to stop at Summa. If you plan to return to work and hope to continue breastfeeding, talk to your employer and plan for a space and time to express your milk or feed your baby. There are several new laws in place which require employers to provide a space for female employees to pump. There can also be tax incentives to employers offering this service.
According to the IRS, mothers may be able to purchase a breast pump with their Flexible Spending Account (FSA). On February 10, 2011, the IRS decided to allow breastfeeding supplies as medical tax deductions to be reimbursed by Flexible Spending Accounts. The ruling, which affected expenses incurred starting in 2010, will allow mothers to use pretax money from their FSAs to cover the cost of breast pumps and other supplies.
While the workplace is becoming friendlier to new, breastfeeding mothers, it can still be uncomfortable to discuss breast pumping at work with your boss. If you would like more information on working while breastfeeding or resources to share with your employer to help your workplace become more breastfeeding friendly, visit the Business Case for Breastfeeding.