Newswise — In an effort to commend, celebrate and increase the number of New Jersey worksites that support breastfeeding employees, the New Jersey Breastfeeding Coalition (NJBC) has selected Hackensack Meridian Health Jersey Shore University Medical Center and Hackensack University Medical Center as “NJ Breastfeeding Friendly Worksites.”
Jersey Shore University Medical Center and Hackensack University Medical Center are the first hospitals in New Jersey to be recognized by the NJBC for breastfeeding supportive practices. This includes providing the availability of reasonable breaks for mothers to express milk or to nurse their child, and access to a private space for expressing milk or nursing their child.
Kay O'Keefe, NJBC trustee, says, “Studies show that simple worksite support practices increase the duration of breastfeeding among employed mothers. Research also shows that breastfed babies have fewer illnesses, contributing to less employee absenteeism.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding, as it promotes both short term and lifelong health benefits for mother and child. However, many mothers cite return to work as a reason for early discontinuation of breastfeeding.
“I’m extremely grateful to have a supportive workplace,” said Kellyn Riedemann, an outcomes analyst at Jersey Shore University Medical Center who has utilized the team member Mother’s Room for the past nine months. “It was important to me to be able to keep up a full supply of breastmilk for my one-year-old son. In addition, I’ve met other breastfeeding moms in our private room and have been able to provide support as they are just returning to work.”
Jersey Shore University Medical Center established a team member Mother’s Room in 1992. It is a private and secure space with a keypad entry for moms to use 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The room even has a computer, which many of the moms use so they can be productive with their work while pumping.
“Hackensack has always been supportive in providing an environment to encourage our mothers to combine breastfeeding and employment. We provide a comfortable, private, lounge for employees to express and store breast milk,” says Joanne Wells, IBCLC, lactation consultant, Hackensack University Medical Center.
Hackensack University Medical Center’s team member breastfeeding room was first designated in 2004 and has evolved throughout the years. The Lactation team located at the Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital has always been supportive of this initiative. Team members volunteer their time to decorate and keep the now multiple rooms functional and updated.
Jersey Shore University Medical Center’s commitment to supporting breastfeeding initiatives also extends to patients. The medical center is a designated Baby-Friendly Hospital, which is a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund. The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. This includes information, confidence and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding once mothers leave the hospital. Jersey Shore University Medical Center was the third hospital in New Jersey to receive the designation.
The NJBC encourages all New Jersey employers to learn more about becoming a breastfeeding-friendly worksite and to complete the simple self-assessment at http://breastfeedingnj.org/breastfeeding-friendly-worksite-recognition-program/
About the New Jersey Breastfeeding Coalition
The New Jersey Breastfeeding Coalition is a collaboration of health professionals and community representatives whose mission is to improve the health of New Jersey families by working collaboratively to promote, protect and support breastfeeding. For more information about the NJBC, visit www.breastfeedingnj.org.
ABOUT HACKENSACK MERIDIAN HEALTH Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care. Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 13 hospitals, including two academic medical centers, two children's hospitals and nine community hospitals, physician practices, more than 120 ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, and urgent care and after-hours centers. Hackensack Meridian Health has 28,000 team members, more than 6,000 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves.
The Network's notable distinctions include having one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America's 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more consecutive years, the number one hospital in New Jersey as ranked by U.S. News and World Report, consistently achieving Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, recipient of the John M. Eisenberg Award for Patient Safety and Quality from The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum, a six-time recipient of Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For," one of the "20 Best Workplaces in Health Care" in the nation, and the number one "Best Place to Work for Women." Hackensack Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium of leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies.
The hospitals of Hackensack Meridian Health include: academic medical centers – Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune; children's hospitals – Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital in Hackensack, K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital in Neptune; community hospitals – Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, and Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood.
For additional information, please visit www.HackensackMeridianHealth.org.