Breastfeeding in Businesses:
New River Health District
Laura Alexander, Health Educator Senior, New River
Health District
Katie Van Horn, NRVCS Prevention Specialist and
Floyd’s Healthy Communities Action Team Facilitator
Learning Objectives
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Describe lessons learned from a community breastfeeding
intervention
Identify strategies for establishing lactation rooms in
community businesses
Identify resources available for a community breastfeeding
intervention
Breastfeeding and Obesity
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Optimal breastfeeding reduces a child’s risk of:
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Obesity
Type 1 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes
Optimal breastfeeding reduces a mother’s risk of:
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Diabetes
Hypertension
Postpartum weight retention
(CAROLINA GLOBAL BREASTFEEDING INSTITUTE)
Breastfeeding in the New River Valley
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54.2% of respondents in Perinatal Region 1 initiated
breastfeeding – lowest in VA (PRAMS 2007-2009)
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45.8% NEVER initiated breastfeeding – highest in VA
(PRAMS 2007-2009)
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33% of WIC participants in New River were
breastfeeding (WIC 2011)
Perinatal Region 1 consists of the following health districts: Lenowisco,
Cumberland Plateau, Mount Rogers, New River, Roanoke Alleghany, and West
Piedmont
Business Support/Education Project
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Funding from VDH to:
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Educate businesses about pro-breastfeeding policies
Help businesses adopt pro-breastfeeding policies
Establish five lactation rooms in businesses (provided pumps,
refrigerators, and chairs if necessary)
HRSA Business Case
for Breastfeeding Kit
Medela Symphony
Hospital-Grade MultiUser Breast pump
Process
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Identified businesses with sufficient female workforce OR
female visitors in Floyd County (n=10)
Mailed letters, followed up with phone calls
Utilized personal connections to community members,
business owners
ZERO traditional businesses expressed willingness to set
up lactation rooms or adopt supportive policies
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Space constraints
Perceived lack of need
Lack of interest by business owners
Interested Organizations
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Floyd County Department of Social Services
Floyd County Public Schools
Blue Mountain School
Department of Social Services
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Policy for Supporting Breastfeeding Employees
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Milk expression breaks
Staff support for breastfeeding
Communication between staff/supervisors
Policy language, structure from Business Case for
Breastfeeding Kit
Schools
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Floyd County Schools:
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Superintendent officially supported program; left final decisions
up to principals
4/5 principals agreed to set up lactation rooms
Adopted policies supporting breastfeeding
Blue Mountain School:
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Established lactation room
Strengthened relationship between school/health department
Lactation Rooms
Community Business Support
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Distributed “Breastfeeding Welcome Here” decals to 30
businesses in Floyd
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Restaurants
Clothing stores
Beauty shop
Insurance
Real estate
Financial management
Art gallery
Print shop
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Telecommunications
company
Farmer supply
Dental practices
Wellness center
Salon
Antique store
Gift shop
Breastfeeding Welcome Here
Lessons Learned – Macro level
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Be flexible! Don’t be afraid to change the plan if it
doesn’t work exactly they way you hoped
Utilize pre-existing relationships, community work,
support, momentum, whatever you can!
Utilize whatever champions you have – superintendent
was vital to the success of this project
Understand and respect the community norms,
values, and history
Lessons Learned – Micro level
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Providing a multi-user pump is great –
also consider providing attachment
kits (tubing, shields, etc.)
Other amenities that can make a
lactation room even more useful include
a way to play music and a clock
Women may not feel comfortable
publically advertising pumping – they
may prefer to not have a sign on the
door
Thank you!
Contact Us:
Laura Alexander, MPH, Health Educator Senior – [email protected]; 540381-7100 ext 153
Katie Van Horn, NRVCS Prevention Specialist– [email protected]; 540-312-5311
Special Thanks to David Moore and Deanna Swortzel
Project Funded by the Virginia Department of Health
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