The CSRA Breastfeeding Coalition named ADP Augusta Solutions Center as its 2010 Breastfeeding Mother Friendly Employer of the Year.
The coalition recognized the company during its annual Employers Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers luncheon Aug. 5 at Trinity Hospital.
"We recognize one employer ever year that goes above and beyond what we're asking for to be designated as breastfeeding friendly," said Donna Wilson, co-chairwoman of the coalition and breastfeeding coordinator for the East Central Health District.
The company's facility includes a mother's resting room designated for use by breastfeeding mothers, said Colette Hughes, vice president and general manager of the Augusta Solutions Center.
"It has a very comfortable chair, refrigerator, and it's very private," she said.
There are also tags the mothers can hang on the door when it's being used to ensure privacy, she added.
"We put information about the mother's resting room in our orientation for our associates so they know it's here if they need it," Hughes said.
To receive designation as a "breastfeeding mother friendly employer" from the CSRA Breastfeeding Coalition, an employer must submit an application and demonstrate that it meets four criteria: a private space other than the restroom for mothers to pump or express their milk when needed; flexible break time; a way to communicate information about the resource to all employees; and a policy that will be followed by all managers or supervisors.
"ADP was selected for this recognition because not only do they do these things, but this year, they even provided breastfeeding education for its employees," Wilson said. "That's really stepping up and going above and beyond."
The coalition was reactivated about eight years ago and is made up of healthcare professionals, breastfeeding counselors, breastfeeding mothers, partner agencies and community members.
"We try to reduce community barriers to breastfeeding," Wilson said. "Our mission is to promote, protect and support breastfeeding."
Currently, one of the coalition's focus areas is getting more employers to support breastfeeding mothers.
"We have a lot of mothers returning to work when their babies are young and they perceive that breastfeeding isn't going to work for them," she said. "Most companies don't allow you to bring babies to work, so mothers need to pump or express their milk when they are away at work in order to continue to provide milk for their child. But, that's not always an easy thing to do unless you have your employer's support."
Being supportive is beneficial for the baby, the mother and her employer, said Dr. Kathryn McLeod, associate professor of pediatrics at the Medical College of Georgia, a pediatrician and international board certified lactation consultant.
Breastfed babies tend to get sick less often and have a decreased risk for infections, colic, reflux and some chronic illnesses. Mothers who breastfeed their babies have decreased risks for certain cancers, osteoporosis and type 2 diabetes, McLeod said.
"Because the babies have less infections, moms are going to take less time off from work to be home with a sick baby. If employers are providing health insurance, these babies are going to use less benefits from that," she said. "We know that mothers also have more job satisfaction because of the support of the workplace and are more likely to stay with their jobs compared to national averages."