MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services (CCDHHS) has been working to create community supports for breastfeeding in Chautauqua County since 2013. Thanks to funds from Univera Healthcare, this project allowed for resources to be distributed to local worksites to make environmental adjustments favoring breastfeeding mothers. Each of the worksites worked to improve or create lactation rooms.
“Returning to work after having a baby is one of the main barriers to mothers meeting their breastfeeding goals,” said Chautauqua County Director of Health and Human Services Christine Schuyler. “The health and social benefits of breastfeeding are too important for us all to ignore. How an employer and fellow employees treat a breastfeeding mother is directly related to how successful a breastfeeding mother will be. I challenge all Chautauqua County employers to talk with young women about and support their goals to breastfeed.”
The CDC reports that individual employers can do a great deal to create an atmosphere that supports employees who breastfeed. Such an atmosphere will become easier to achieve as workplace support programs are promoted to diverse employers. Workplace support programs can be promoted to employers, including managers of human resources, employee health coordinators, insurers, and health providers serving many of a particular organization’s employees.
Each of the Chautauqua County worksites who were awarded a grant worked to create or update spaces for breastfeeding mothers.
Director of Outreach for Venture Forthe, Melanie Booth, said, “We at Venture Forthe have fully embraced helping new moms and young families succeed in the workforce.”
A nursing mothers’ room was created in their office located on East Second Street in Jamestown.
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County (CCE) Executive Director Emily Reynolds understands firsthand the struggles of breastfeeding and pumping when returning to work full time.
“I commend the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services and Univera Healthcare for their support to new moms throughout the county,” said Reynolds. “This mini grant was a significant help to CCE in providing adequate and comfortable space to support breastfeeding. CCE is happy to support our staff and program participants by providing an environment that encourages breastfeeding and eases the transition for working mothers.”
If you are a nursing mother having trouble with your employer providing an appropriate space or time to pump, contact the NYS Department of Labor. All complaints are confidential and a filed complaint will not be shared with the employer. Call the DOL at 1-888-52-LABOR, send to LSAsk@labor.ny.gov, or visit the nearest Labor Standards office to personally file a complaint.
Need help with breastfeeding? Call the Chautauqua County Breastfeeding Help Line: 1-844-4BF-BABY (1-844-423-2229.
For additional information, please contact Bree Agett at the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services at 716-753-4771.