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The Business Case for Breastfeeding Support

Supporting nursing moms at work is not only the right thing to do. It can also result in bottom-line benefits to your company. See the entire toolkit: The Business Case for Breastfeeding.

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Breastfeeding Lowers Health Care Costs

Research shows that both mothers and their infants enjoy better health through breastfeeding. Mothers have less risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. They also recover from pregnancy faster. This means they can return to work feeling more productive! Infants also enjoy better health. They are less likely to experience a wide range of illnesses and diseases (including childhood leukemia, diabetes, and obesity).

Babies who are not breastfed visit the physician more often, spend more days in the hospital, and require more prescriptions than breastfed infants. One study found that the United States could save $13 billion per year if 90% of mothers exclusively breastfeed their infants for 6 months, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Bottom-line Benefits

CIGNA Insurance Company
$240,000 annual savings in health care expenses among women who breastfed their infants.

Mutual of Omaha
$2,146 savings per employee in health care costs, and annual savings of $115,881 for mothers who participate in the company's lactation program.

Lower Absenteeism Rates

Because babies are healthier when they are breastfed, their parents are less likely to miss work.

Bottom-line Benefits

1-day absences due to illness occur twice as often among parents whose infants are not breastfed.

CIGNA Insurance Company
Saved $60,000/year in lower absenteeism rates among women whose babies were breastfed.

Higher Retention Rates

Research shows that women who receive support to express milk at work are more productive and loyal to the company. They are also more likely to return from maternity leave, and often come back to work earlier.

Bottom-line Benefits

A study1 of several companies with lactation support programs showed that they retained 94.2% of their employees after maternity leave, compared with the national average of only 59%.

1. Ortiz J., McGilligan K., Kelly P. (2004). Duration of breast milk expression among working mothers enrolled in an employer-sponsored lactation program. Pediatr Nurs; 30:111-119.


For more information on bottom-line benefits to businesses when they support nursing mothers, read the Business Case for Breastfeeding toolkit for employers, published by the Health Resources and Services Administration's Maternal and Child Health Bureau.

Content last updated January 9, 2015.

Resources last updated April 15, 2014.



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