Affordable Care Act Breastfeeding has been declared a key public health issue in the U.S.  Current legislation expands many insurance plans for women’s preventative health to include lactation support, equipment and counseling. Most breastfeeding employees, hourly wage-earning and salaried,  also require reasonable break time and a private, non-bathroom place to express breast milk during the work day, up until the child’s first birthday. Affordable Care Act, 2010, Section 7, Fair Labor Standards Act

Health Benefits Mothers who breastfeed recover from pregnancy faster, and are less likely to develop diabetes, heart disease, breast and ovarian cancers. Breastfed babies are less likely to develop ear and respiratory infections, gastrointestinal illness, allergy, asthma, eczema, childhood leukemia, diabetes and obesity. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of baby’s life, and continued breastfeeding for one year and beyond.

Lower Health Care and Insurance Costs Better infant health reduces health care expenses. Babies who are not breastfed are sick more frequently, require hospitalization more often, and need more medications. Work lactation programs save businesses $3 for every $1 spent for lactation services.  This is a savings of $400 for each baby in the first year of life. If 90% of families exclusively breastfed for six months, the U.S. would save $13 billion annually.

Increased Productivity Mothers who breastfeed are more likely to return to work sooner.  Breastfed children are also healthier, so parents have lower absenteeism rates. Moreover, there are higher retention rates with comprehensive lactation support in the workplace, as employees are more satisfied, productive and loyal to the company. The retention rate for breastfeeding-friendly businesses is 94.2 percent compared to the national retention rate of 59 percent.

Going Green Breast milk is natural, renewable and economical, ready to serve at just the right temperature. Breastfeeding saves families over $1,500 per year on the cost of formula. Unlike formula, breastfeeding requires no packaging and no fuel for transport. For every one million formula-fed babies, 150 million containers of formula are consumed, and often end up in landfills. Breastfeeding reduces the carbon footprint by saving global resources and energy.