It’s World Breastfeeding Week, and Okaloosa County Health officials are recognizing area businesses and hospitals for their efforts in trying to make the county breastfeeding-friendly.
Four Okaloosa County employers have so far received the Florida Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Award given by the Florida Breastfeeding Coalition.
“Twin Cities Hospitals, Childcare Network #142, Acentria Insurance, Northwest Florida State College – Child Development & Education Center all applied to the coalition and received a Silver level award,” said Amanda Colwell.
Colwell is the Okaloosa Health Department’s Community Health Improvement Section Chief. She says the award-winning companies have to do a number of things. That includes making sure mothers have a private area to pump that’s not a bathroom and flexible work breaks.
“Have a more robust policy, in their lactation room, they may have chairs or small tables or additional electric outlets, things like that, they could have paid maternity leave, on-site childcare, they may even allow them to return to work part-time,” Colwell added.
Colwell says she also encourages mothers to breastfeed because of the many benefits.
“They [babies] don’t get sick as often. There’s reduced absences at work because mom’s there,” she continued. “The stomach issues, ear issues, those kind of things are lower in the breastfed babies than they are in the formula-fed babies. It’s cost savings to the family. It reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.”
Breastfed babies don’t get sick as often, and are less at risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.