“Improving the health of Americans is a primary goal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” reads the CDC’s 2014 Breastfeeding Report Card. “Breastfeeding, with its many known health benefits for infants, children, and mothers, is a key strategy to accomplish this goal.”
However, in the 2014 report, one of the CDC’s new findings was that while 79 percent of newborns started breastfeeding, that number dropped to 49 percent by the time they were six months old, then fell to 27 percent by the time they hit a year. In DC, the report found that 37.6 percent of newborns were exclusively breastfeeding at three months, when maternity leave typically ends.
To better support their new moms returning to work, Bethesda-based Marriott International has partnered with Medela, a Swiss company that supplies breastfeeding products and assist moms to “successfully breastfeed their babies and to do so for as long as they choose.” As part of Medela’s Medela at Work initiative, the partnership has led to an upgraded lactation room at Marriott’s headquarters in Bethesda, where Marriott moms can pump and store breast milk.
“We strongly believe that supporting new moms who want to continue breastfeeding their babies is not only the right thing to do, but also makes sense for the health of our employees’ families and our organization,” said Marriott International’s director of benefits, Rebecca Spencer, in a press release. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Medela to offer new and returning moms a place they would want to go to pump.”
Marriott’s nursing room is sectioned off with curtains for privacy, and each pumping station is equipped with Medela Symphony Breastpumps, Medela accessories, and a chair and a desk for moms to work at. Marriott is also donating $25,000—adding to a $27,000 product donation from Medela—to Good+ Foundation, which provides goods and services—like pumps for new moms who still want to feed their babies breast milk after they’ve returned to work—to families in need.
Marriott’s not the only local company that has decided to upgrade their new mother digs. Last summer, the Washington Nationals unveiled a cushy nursing lounge that allowed women to pump without missing the game.
“The transition back to work can be challenging and all moms deserve to be supported to help keep their breastfeeding goals,” said managing director of Medela USA, Melissa Gonzales, in a press release.”We are proud to partner with Marriott and to provide support to GOOD+ Foundation to help communities of moms breastfeed their babies—whether at work, school, or at home.”