News Releases

February 05, 2015

Health Department Offers Small Businesses Grants to Support Breastfeeding

Fogg's Hardware in Norwich has a clientele that is 80 percent male, but when they were asked by the Health Department two years ago to create a breastfeeding friendly place for women employees, they quickly agreed.

The Health Department is hoping other small businesses in Vermont will do the same, as they put out a Request for Proposals on Feb. 2 that will provide $1,000 grants to 15 worksites with 100 or fewer employees.

The grants, funded by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), will help employers provide women with a private, clean place where they can express breastmilk for their child.

The deadline for the grant applications is February 20, 2015.

"Every business should have a special spot where women can breastfeed," said Jim Davis, Fogg's contractor sales manager.

Both of Davis' children were breastfed and his wife, Jessie, works as a nutritionist for the Health Department in the White River Junction district office. She suggested to her husband that the store become a Breastfeeding Friendly Employer.

"Supporting breastfeeding employees saves money because they miss work less often, it lowers health care costs and fosters better retention, higher productivity and loyalty," said Karen Flynn, the administrator for the Health Department's Women, Infants & Children (WIC) program.

State and federal law requires that businesses provide time and a private space for women to express breast milk. This usually takes about 15 minutes every three hours. Breastfeeding employees need approximately an hour per work day to express milk, which can be easily divided between usual breaks.

The Health Department encourages all women to breastfeed their babies for at least a year. Vermont's breastfeeding rates are among the best in the nation, according to the 2014 Breastfeeding Report Card by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ninety percent of Vermont women initiate breastfeeding (5th best in the nation), and Vermont ranks as the nation's best for breastfeeding at 6 months, 12 months, and exclusive breastfeeding at 3 months and 6 months.

For a grant application visit: http://www.vermontbusinessregistry.com/BidPreview.aspx?BidID11322

Media Contact: Communication Office, 802-863-7281

Source: Department of Health
Last Updated at: February 05, 2015 16:32:19