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Women’s Center wins breastfeeding-friendly workplace award

UMBC’s Women Center was awarded the Regional Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Award as a result of being able to provide a lactation room and provide necessary services to UMBC Moms and Parents.

UMBC’s Women’s Center was awarded the “Large” business size category at the Gold level of support from the D.C. and Maryland Breastfeeding Coalitions.

The D.C. and Maryland Breastfeeding Coalitions announced that UMBC was among the recipients of their Regional Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Award. The DCBFC and the MBC are nonprofit organizations which connect breastfeeding advocates, health care providers, and families.

A press release on the award indicated its importance because support for breastfeeding mothers is part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which suggests that employers have to provide reasonable break time and a space, other than a bathroom, for a mother to breastfeed her child.

“Previous winners have demonstrated how this can range from a small room to a large program replete with lactation consultants and support groups,” stated the press release regarding this award.

However, many workplaces do not offer such resources to women and as a result, this award highlights those places who do offer such support to women.

“Each one of the businesses receiving a Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Award or a Health Care Provider Award is a role model for our region in how to support breastfeeding families. We are so proud to honor them,” says Dr. Dana Silver, past president of the Maryland Breastfeeding Coalition.

UMBC’s Women Center offers multiple resources to parents on campus, such as a lactation room and support group on campus for women (UMBC Moms and Parents)

According to Megan Adams, assistant director of the Women’s Center, “A mom came in who uses this lactation room [on campus] who is on this committee for the award told us we were nominated.”

“All USM schools are required to have a lactation room available, but we had that before that was even required. We have a quiet space where there is a hospital grade breast pump that’s available for parents who don’t want to lug their whole kit from home.” She added, “We used to have a parents’ group but because parents are so busy they didn’t necessarily have time to visit the group. So now we have the myUMBC page that supports parents so they can connect to one another. They can give each other advice and even arrange babysitters for one another.”

According to Adams, this has been one tool amongst many that have made communication easier and more efficient.

“With a lot of events, we let parents know that they are welcome to bring their children because we know so often, it can be a choice between ‘I either go to this event’ or ‘ I stay home’ and we don’t want that to be a barrier. And if they can’t, we try to live stream the event on Facebook Live so people can at least keep up with what we’re doing.”