Great Place for Moms

Windom Area Hospital Receives State Breastfeeding-Friendly Recognition

Windom Area Hospital (WAH) has been named a Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) for its contribution to the health of mothers and their babies.

MDH recognizes workplaces and county health departments that have demonstrated their commitment to supporting breastfeeding mothers by creating a workplace lactation support program.

Mary Oeltjenbruns, RN and Lactation Consultant, holds Windom Area Hospital’s Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace certificate. Mary stands in WAH’s dedicated Lactation Room.

Emily Masters, Chief Human Relations Officer at WAH notes, “We have really focused on making breastfeeding a choice mothers can make, regardless of returning to work. When expecting moms get their leave paperwork, they also get a guide to breastfeeding at work, so they can think through and prepare for continuing when they come back. And of course we have Mary Oeltjenbruns on staff as a resource for new moms, she is an RN and Lactation Consultant that really goes the extra mile in helping nursing moms.”

The guide given to moms, informs employees about the hospital’s Lactation Room, a quiet, serene and private room dedicated for nursing or pumping. This room also has ample storage for supplies and a fridge to store pumped breast milk. This room was a collaborative effort led by funding from the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP). These efforts are in addition to policies stating employee’s right surrounding breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is a foundational way to ensure that babies receive optimal nutrition during the first formative years of life. Studies show that infants who are breastfed have better health outcomes as they grow. MDH recognized organizations that have taken a leadership role to improve breastfeeding rates and meet Healthy 2020 goals.

The designation acknowledges Windom Area Hospital’s commitment to acting as a model for the community by supporting healthy families and receiving the business benefits of supporting nursing mothers. The designation is achieved by adopting a written policy and educating staff about it; ensuring adequate break time for breastfeeding employees; providing a clean, private place to pump breast milk; and demonstrating a strong commitment to supporting breastfeeding in the workplace.

This is MDH’s recognition program, which was created and is supported by the state Women, Infants and Children program (WIC) and the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP). To learn how to apply for recognition, visit health.state.mn.us/breastfeedingfriendly.

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