Special to The Sun
OKLA. CITY —
The Oklahoma State Department of Health, the Oklahoma BirthNetwork and the Coalition of Oklahoma Breastfeeding Advocates announce seven new Oklahoma worksites have been recognized as Breastfeeding Friendly Worksites. The program, initiated in February 2008, has a recognition period of three years with the option to renew.
Employers are recognized for their assistance in offering their working mothers a Breastfeeding Friendly Worksite and meeting the following minimum criteria:
• Flexible break times to express milk;
• A comfortable location allowing privacy for pumping (other than a toilet stall);
• Access to a nearby clean water source and a sink for washing hands and breast pump equipment and
• A written policy that supports breastfeeding that includes the previous items and describes how all staff are informed of the policy.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants receive only human milk for the first six months of life, and continued breastfeeding with age-appropriate foods for one year or longer,” said OSDH Maternal and Child Health Service Director Suzanna Dooley. “Research shows a win-win situation for employers when they support their employees who are breastfeeding. These mothers miss less work, have increased job productivity and employee loyalty. We encourage employers to provide the support needed for mothers to continue breastfeeding through initiatives like the Breastfeeding Friendly Worksite.”
Currently 135 worksites are recognized as Oklahoma Breastfeeding Friendly Worksites. The most recently recognized worksites are the following:
• Blaine County Health Department, 521 W. Fourth St., Watonga;
• Comanche County Memorial Hospital, 3401 W. Gore Blvd., Lawton;
• Creek County Health Department, 1808 S. Hickory, Sapulpa;
• Oklahoma Dept. of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services, 1200 N.E. 13th St., Oklahoma City;
• Oklahoma County SoonerStart, 3017 N. Stiles, Suite 200, Oklahoma City;
• OU Medical Center–Edmond, 1 S. Bryant Ave., Edmond; and
• Pottawatomie County Health Department, 1904 Gordon Cooper Drive, Shawnee.
To learn how to become a Breastfeeding Friendly Worksite, or view the complete listing of Recognized Breastfeeding Friendly Worksites, see http://bis.health.ok.gov and click on: “Recent Additions to Oklahoma Recognized Breastfeeding Friendly Worksites.” All are Gold Star Worksites who have exceeded the minimum criteria and have met at least three additional criteria.
The Oklahoma Breastfeeding Hotline, 1-877-271-MILK, is also available free of charge for those needing breastfeeding support and information.
Breastfeeding is a priority issue addressed through Preparing for a Lifetime, It’s Everyone’s Responsibility, a statewide initiative involving more than 20 partner organizations working to promote child health and reduce infant deaths in Oklahoma. To learn more about the initiative, visit http://iio.health.ok.gov.