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Facilitate Breastfeeding

Thirty minutes is not much time in a work day. Employees can waste that many minutes on personal calls, office gossip and meetings that last longer than they should.

Thirty minutes is what the typical nursing mother needs to use a breast pump. So, how is nursing related to workplace time management?

A recent Census Bureau story showed that 55 percent of new mothers return to the work force within 12 months of giving birth.

And the American Academy of Pediatrics is now urging mothers to breastfeed their babies for at least a year - six months longer than previous guidelines.

How do working mothers reconcile the two realities? They know nursing is good for their babies. Breastfed babies suffer fewer ear infections and allergies, and nursing may protect babies against lifethreatening illnesses. But returning to work with a nursing baby presents many difficulties.

Workplaces can help new mothers find solutions. Why should they try? Because the support makes it easier for women to return to work and because nursing appears to cut down on sick days for babies and their mothers.

On-site day care makes nursing relatively easy but it is still a rarity. Another solution is to provide support for mothers who pump breast milk for use later.

A private room with a locked door, washing facilities and a refrigerator for storing the milk - those are the necessary ingredients. So is an attitude that acknowledges how beneficial nursing is for mother, baby and, ultimately, the workplace.

, DataTimes The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Rebecca Nappi/For the editorial board

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