San Diego County Breastfeeding Coalition (SDCBC) 2014 Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace Awards Go to Southwest Regional Maintenance Center and Vista Community Clinics
In light of World Breastfeeding Week 2014, San Diego County Breastfeeding Coalition (SDCBC) announced the annual breastfeeding friendly workplace awardees. This year, the awards go to Southwest Regional Maintenance Center and Vista Community Clinics, with runners-up provide-commerce and AAP-CA3.
SDCBC accepted nominations until July 15, and the coalition staff visited and evaluated all the nominees, making sure that they offer mothers privacy for milk expression, have a written policy of flexible breaks and work options, and provide education to the employees and support to breastfeeding mothers.
At the awards ceremony on August 5, Nick Macchione, the Director of California Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA), stated the significance of the awards, “as a state we shall celebrate breastfeeding!”
San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts, who is also a father of five, said, “the Board of Supervisors recognizes the importance of breastfeeding.” He said the most important work of health care is to replace bad habits with good habits and “ one of the best habits is breastfeeding!”
Babies, mothers, employers, and the society are all benefit from breastfeeding. Dr. Nancy Wight (MD, IBCLC), a co-founder of SDCBC, said that breastfed babies have a reduced risk of hospitalization in the first year, ear infections, gastrointestinal infections, necrotizing enterocolitis, asthma, childhood leukemia, and Type 2 childhood diabetes as well as childhood obesity. Breastfeeding mothers are less likely to develop breast or ovarian cancer.
Heidi Burke-Pevney (IBCLC) from SDCBC explained the importance of lactation accommodation rooms at work. “It increases employee satisfaction and reduces health care costs.” Mothers who continue to breastfeed miss less work due to their child being sick, so employers who support breastfeeding receive greater employee retention, productivity and loyalty.
Nick Macchione, Director of the San Diego County HHSA and Dr. Jim Murphy, the incoming president of SDCBC, presented the awards.
Commander Cinda Brown (USN) represented Southwest Regional Maintenance Center to receive the award. She thanked her colleagues who worked hard and put a nursing room together. “We are excited to be here!” she said. In addition to a nursing room, the center also has a monthly breastfeeding support group, lead by local breastfeeding consultant Sara Lin.
In addition to the Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace Award, SDCBC also presented an annual breastfeeding champion award. The Breastfeeding Champion for 2014 Award goes to Dr. Dean Sidelinger, the County of San Diego Child Health Medical Officer.
“I was a little shocked but also excited,” said Dr. Sidelinger on receiving the award. “As a pediatrician, I’m happy for the opportunity to impact moms and children for not only months or years, but decades.” He added, “At San Diego lactation is really supported through the coalition, WIC, and other organizations. ”
According to the coalition, more than half of new mothers will return to work before their infant’s first birthday. According to Dr. Wight, California is one of the states with the highest breastfeeding rate, but still, “only 38% mothers make it to twelve months.” More work is needed. SDCBC continues working toward a more breastfeeding friendly County.
Dr. Murphy said that the coalition started to educate healthcare professionals, but now it is growing into something much bigger. “We educate healthcare providers so that breastfeeding will be what the mothers are doing when they leave the hospital and go home,” he said, “we work together with the County to support breastfeeding mothers.”
“When you see a breastfeeding mother, all you have to do is smile.” said Dr. Murphy. “Support breastfeeding mothers!”
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