To commemorate World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7, the Allegheny County Health Department today announced the winners of its 18th annual Breastfeeding Friendly Place Awards, which recognize workplaces, public places and other sites away from home that make an extra effort to accommodate breastfeeding mothers.
Honored in the workplace category are Mascaro Construction, LP, on Pittsburgh’s Northside and Oncology Nursing Society in Moon, and in the public place category Carnegie Science Center on the North Shore and The Midwife Center for Birth and Women’s Health in the Strip District.
The longer a baby is breastfed the greater the health benefits, yet surveys have found that only 44.3% of babies nationwide and 37.6% in Pennsylvania are breastfed for six months or longer. Making places outside the home more breastfeeding friendly encourages women to breastfeed longer and as a result babies and moms derive greater health benefits.
Breastfeeding friendly workplaces are also good for business, since breastfed babies are less likely to get sick in childhood and that means lower absentee rates for working parents due to a child’s illness.
Mascaro Construction has demonstrated a strong commitment to breastfeeding moms by offering a friendly atmosphere and a large, clean, private and carpeted room, close to their work space, with a private entrance and occupied/vacant signage. The room has a rocking chair with a foot stool, end table, good lighting, wall-to-wall counter space with a sink in the middle, a refrigerator and plenty of storage.
Oncology Nursing Society provides a friendly atmosphere and two clean, comfortable, private rooms with occupied/vacant signage and a separate entrance restroom between the rooms. The rooms are close to the work site and have a sofa or two comfortable chairs, an end table, counter space and refrigerator.
Carnegie Science Center provides a welcoming and supportive atmosphere to any woman wishing to breastfeed her baby, including a designated area for breastfeeding in private, which has a large cushioned bench with a draw curtain surrounding it and is away from the mainstream of people.
Midwife Center has a homey, warm and welcoming atmosphere with a large waiting room and comfortable chairs for moms to breastfeed their babies. Staff members are supportive of any woman wishing to breastfeed and will offer a private area for breastfeeding upon request.
Instituted as the Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace Awards, the awards were later expanded to include all places offering a supportive attitude and environment that make it easier to breastfeed away from home.