Area Businesses Recognized For Making Breastfeeding Work For Their Employees.

The DC/Maryland Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Awards were established in 2010 to acknowledge employers who recognize the importance of human milk for the health of the region's babies and their families. The DC and Maryland Breastfeeding Coalitions (DCBFC and MBC) created these awards thanks in part to a grant from DHHS's HRSA entitled "The Business Case for Breastfeeding". Sixteen area businesses were nominated to receive the Award this year, the largest group yet!

Many health organizations, including the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics, strongly recommend as optimal for nutrition and health benefits that an infant receive only human milk for the first 6 months, and continue receiving breast milk once complimentary foods are started for a minimum of 12 months of life. Among the barriers to a longer duration of breastfeeding is maternal return to employment and a lack of education and support received for breast milk expression in the workplace.

  • Section 4207 of the 2010 Affordable Care Act ("Reasonable Break Time for Nursing Mothers") and the District of Columbia's Human Rights Act ("The Child's Right to Nurse Human Rights Amendment Act of 2007") clearly state the requirement to provide a clean, private space and flexible, reasonable unpaid breaks for women to express their milk during work hours without discrimination.
  • Healthy People 2020 includes a goal to increase the proportion of employers that have workplace lactation support programs from 25% to 38%.
  • US Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, in her 2011 "Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding", lists four action steps employers can take to do their part to support women who choose to breastfeed.

"The common link among each of these Awardees over the past three years," says Dr. Silver, "is that they serve as role models in the area for how to successfully support mothers who wish to continue to breastfeed once they have returned to work." Not only is it healthier for babies to continue breastfeeding, but also it is emotionally and physically healthier for a mother. It is a way mothers and their babies can stay connected even when the mother might be away for hours. Equally important is that it is good for business. Studies have shown that when a breastfeeding mother is supported in the workplace employer absence is lower (because baby and mom are healthier) and employee loyalty and productivity is higher.

The DC/Maryland Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Award rated nominated businesses in four areas, Support, Time, Education, and Place (STEP). A private area to express milk was a must, as stipulated by the Affordable Health Care Act of 2010. Other amenities provided by the businesses were also evaluated, such as a hospital-grade multi-user pump, flexible break times, and availability of breastfeeding supports like policies, classes, and support services.

Each employer was asked why it was important to support lactating employees. Employees were also offered a chance to share what it means to receive such accommodations. Click on the links below to see the responses provided and photographs from each facility's lactation rooms. We hope you'll be inspired once you see how the use of a little creativity and energy can go a long way in supporting breastfeeding employees. In turn, this support can generate significant employee loyalty and can decrease employee absence due to illness of their child. All in all, a win-win situation!

AFI Silver Theatre
Central Special School
D.C. Department of Health
George Washington University
Holy Cross Hospital
Maryland Public Television
MedStar Washington Medical Center
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
National Security Agency
Shady Grove Adventist Hospital
Space Telescope Science Institute
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

P.O. Box 29214, Washington, DC 20017 • Tel 202-470-2732 • email

Medical Disclaimer: The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems, breastfeeding problems, or to take the place of professional medical care. If you have persistent breastfeeding problems, or if you have further questions, please consult your health care provider. The DC Breastfeeding Coalition does not share partnership with, or have any vested interest in, any of the businesses that may appear on this site, or sites that may be accessible by links herein contained.
Last Updated: April 2017