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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration
Maternal and Child Health

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Business Case for Breastfeeding

Companies successful at retaining valued employees after childbirth find that two components can make the difference: providing dedicated space (as small as 4’ x 5’) for breastfeeding employees to express milk in privacy, and providing worksite lactation support. 

The payoff is significant: more satisfied, loyal employees and cost savings to the business. These savings are seen in such areas as:

  • Retention of experienced employees;
  • Reduction in sick time taken by both moms and dads for children’s illnesses; and
  • Lower health care and insurance costs.

The Business Case for Breastfeeding can help you create a breastfeeding-friendly worksite and achieve an enviable  return on your investment. 

Small Investment Yields Big Return

Companies both large and small benefit from providing a lactation support program. When the following simple, cost-effective components are provided companies enjoy the biggest savings.

  1. Privacy to Express Milk
    If women do not work in a private office, a small, private space (as small as 4’ x 5’) can be set up for a lactation room. Many companies also provide a hospital-grade electric breast pump that makes pumping quicker and more efficient. Employees should never be asked to express milk or breastfeed in a restroom.
  2. Flexible Breaks
    Milk expression session usually take around 15 minutes, plus time to get to and from the lactation room, and are needed about every 3 hours. Breastfeeding employees typically need no more than an hour per work day to express milk, which can easily be divided between usual paid breaks and the meal period.
  3. Education
    Employees value information they receive during their pregnancy about continuing to breastfeed upon returning to work. Pamphlets, resources, lunchtime prenatal classes, and access to a lactation consultant can help employees feel more prepared.
  4. Support
    Supportive policies and practices that enable women to successfully return to work and breastfeed send a message to all employees that breastfeeding is valued. Support is a temporary need for each breastfeeding employee – once babies begin eating solid foods at 6 months, milk expression requirements gradually diminish.

Supporting your breastfeeding employees saves money because breastfeeding employees miss work less often, breastfeeding lowers health care costs and fosters better retention, higher productivity and loyalty.


Outreach Toolkit

For lactation and other health professionals to help conduct effective outreach with employers:

Breastfeeding Outreach Marketing Guide (PDF - 2.5 MB)

Breastfeeding Outreach Reproducible Resources (PDF - 1.9)

Breastfeeding Outreach Presentation (PDF - 646 KB)

Breastfeeding Outreach Presentation (PPT - 483 KB)

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