Breastfeeding and Work

Breastfeeding and Work

The San Benito County Public Health Services Department supports efforts that encourage breastfeeding at the workplace, as it provides benefits for mothers, children, families, and society. Children who are breastfed are less likely to develop acute ear infections, asthma, diabetes and obesity. Reduced risk of diabetes and breast and ovarian cancer are some of the mother’s health benefits. Breastfeeding also provides benefits for businesses, including lower health care costs, reduced absenteeism, higher productivity and lower turnover rates.

For Breastfeeding Mothers Going Back to Work
It will be easier for you to continue breastfeeding if you plan ahead, know what to expect, and develop breastfeeding plans.  If possible, return to work gradually; this allows time to adjust and helps your body make a good supply of milk.  Talk with your supervisor about different options that may be available to you.

Plan Ahead
Prior to Maternity Leave, talk to your employer about:
-Having a private and convenient place to pump breast milk.
-How much maternity leave you are allowed?  Maximizing the time available to you will help get breastfeeding off to a good start.
-Having a reduced schedule for the first few weeks after returning from maternity leave.
-Consider using a childcare provider close to work so you may be able to visit and breastfeed your baby, depending on your work schedule.

Breast Pumps
www.HealthCare.gov details the following:
Your health insurance plan must cover the cost of a breast pump. It may be either a rental unit or a new one you’ll keep. Your plan may have guidelines on whether the covered pump is manual or electric, the length of the rental, and when you’ll receive it (before or after birth).
But it’s up to you and your doctor to decide what’s right for you.

Laws About Breastfeeding and Work
CA Breastfeeding Laws & Regulations

Online Resources
Legal Aid at Work Working & Family Hotline
Sample Policies: Parental Leave, Lactation Accommodations, Work-Family Balance

Employees are more likely to return to work when their workplace provides a supportive environment for continued breastfeeding.  Companies who keep their employees after childbirth have the benefit of eliminating the time and cost of hiring and training replacement staff.  Providing a supportive work environment for breastfeeding employees improves your employee health benefit package and helps protect your company’s investment.

Women with infants and toddlers are the fastest growing segment of the workforce in the United States.  To help these women achieve the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that women breastfeed until their children are at least one year of age, it is important that businesses attempt to reduce the barriers for employees who choose to breastfeed and work.  Employers that make it easy for mothers to continue breastfeeding after returning to work have enjoyed positive results, including lower absenteeism, higher productivity, higher company loyalty, higher employee morale, and lower health care costs.

Public Health can assist employers in creating a lactation policy.
Employer Toolkit to implement lactation accommodation policy

Lactation Accommodation:  All California employers are required to provide a reasonable amount of break time and a private space, other than a toilet stall, close to the employee’s work area, to accommodate an employee desiring to express and store breast milk for her baby.  Violation is subject to a civil penalty of $100 per violation.

Breastfeeding in Public:  This law provides that a mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, except the private home or residence of another, where the mother and child are authorized to be present.

Jury Service and Breastfeeding:  This law exempts breastfeeding mothers from jury duty, and requires the State to take steps to eliminate the need for the mother to appear in court to make this request.



Public Health Division

351 Tres Pinos Road
Suite A-202
Hollister, CA 95023

(831) 637-5367

Fax (831) 637-9073

TDD/TTY (831) 636-0385

Toll-free (800) 756-0385


Mon-Fri  8AM – 5PM

Deputy Director

Lynn Mello
Director of Nursing
Public Health Administrator

Health Officer

David Ghilarducci, MD, FACEP
Interim Health Officer

Language Translation Disclaimer
Our Agency’s website links to Google Translation as a convenience for those who speak/read languages other than English.  Please be aware that no automated or computerized translation tool produces a perfect translation.  The context of the wording may be lost when translated and some translations may lose the intended meaning. Therefore, the San Benito County Health and Human Services Agency cannot guarantee the accuracy of the translated content. 
If any questions arise concerning the translated version of the website, please refer to the original English version.