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Return to Work or School

Over 90 percent of Oregon mothers begin breastfeeding. When they return to work or school, time and space to express their breast milk during the work day helps them continue to give their best to both their work and their baby.

Workplace Support

Workplace support for lactating employees creates a 3:1 return on investment through:
  • Lower health care costs
  • Lower turnover rates
  • Lower absenteeism rates because babies fed human milk are healthier and their parents are less likely to miss work. One-day absences occur half as often among parents whose infants are fed by human milk.
  • Higher productivity and company loyalty. Gestational parents who get workplace support are also more likely to return from family leave.

Strategies that help parents continue human milk feeding

  • Time and space to express milk during the day*
  • Paid family leave**
  • On-site or nearby childcare
  • A caregiver who brings baby to the lactating parent at work to feed
  • Allowing babies in the workplace 
  • Flexible work arrangements such as part-time work, flexible scheduling, or extended family leave
  • Offering professional lactation services and support

Resources for Employers

Lactation policies

A clear policy can:
  • Ensure that all employees have access to consistent support of both reasonable time and private space for expressing milk
  • Define the roles and responsibilities for both supervisors and workers
  • Build a worksite culture that normalizes lactation support as an accepted part of work-life balance to ensure that parents do not face harassment or embarrassment
  • Allow information sharing during employee orientations and in employee handbooks
Sample Policies

In Oregon, policies need to align with both federal and Oregon lactation accommodation laws.

Lactation support

Resources for Working Parents

​Pumping and Storing Human Milk

*Laws – Pregnancy, Breastfeeding and Lactation

**Paid Leave Oregon

Photo courtesy of USBC