Healthy Ohio Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Award
The Holmes County Health District has earned the Ohio Department of Health’s Healthy Ohio Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Gold Award. Through efforts such as a designated pumping room, a personnel policy that supports breastfeeding and consultations available as needed by an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, the Holmes County Health District is working to improve the health of our community’s littlest members. Children who are breastfed have a reduced risk of many health problems including diabetes, asthma, childhood cancer and obesity.
“The Holmes County Health District’s breastfeeding initiatives give mothers the support, confidence and skills to successfully breastfeed their baby," said Raquel Miller, RN, IBCLC. "We encourage exclusive breastfeeding for six months to reduce the risk for infections especially in the first year of life and for optimal nutrition for the baby. We are also excited about the opportunities to retain and encourage valuable employees through these programs that promote healthy families.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, low rates of breastfeeding add $2.2 billion a year to medical costs. Babies who are formula-fed instead of breast-fed tend to require more doctor visits, hospitalizations and prescriptions. A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics estimated that the country would save $13 billion per year in health care and other costs if 90% of U.S. babies were exclusively breastfed for six months.
Supporting breastfeeding makes good business sense: studies have found that breastfeeding reduces absenteeism rates on the part of new mothers and increases their productivity.
Ohio is committed to promoting and protecting a mother’s right to breastfeed her child for as long as she chooses, whether or not she returns to work. Doctors recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months after birth for the optimal health of a mother and her child.
The Ohio Department of Health and other breastfeeding advocates around the state developed the Healthy Ohio Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Award to acknowledge employers who establish and maintain comprehensive, high-quality breastfeeding support programs for their employees.
The Ohio Department of Health’s Healthy Ohio Breastfeeding Friendly Business award recognizes businesses that also provide accommodation for their breastfeeding customers or clients.
The Holmes County Health District is one of 22 employers in Ohio to be honored by the Ohio Department of Health.