Workplace Wellness Stories

The Business Case for Breastfeeding

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If you ask Jennifer Klabunde, Director of Human Resources at Ecumen Detroit Lakes Senior Housing when did the idea for a lactation room enter her mind, she would tell you “It was a thought I had years ago but we just did not have the time and space for doing it.” So back on the shelf that thought went.

In March 2012, Ecumen joined the worksite wellness collaboration sponsored by Partnership4Health, the area SHIP collaborative, and led by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. It was there that Leslie Anderson, Certified Lactation Counselor for Partnership4Health shared about the Business Case for Breastfeeding. This sparked a renewed interest for Ecumen.

“When someone like Leslie comes along who has all the tools and resources to help, the decision was simple. It would have been foolish for me not to act, since it was my responsibility to advocate for the health of our employees,” says Klabunde. “Partnership4Health had a model policy template for us to follow. They were able to take us through the approval steps and offer the support needed during implementation.”

Ecumen is Minnesota’s largest non-profit provider of senior services. Nearly 98 percent of Ecumen’s workforce is female, many of childbearing age, and Ecumen is always looking for ways to respond directly to the needs of their workforce. Employee and new mother Dawn Pfeifer said, “I wouldn’t have been able to continue to breastfeed without this great space. At other places I worked, I was told that I would have to
use the restroom.”

At Ecumen the lactation room is in a central location, close to the employee break room and entrance. Mothers can drop off their pump and supplies before beginning work. With support from Partnership4Health, the room has been furnished with comfortable seating
and a small refrigerator to store the baby’s milk. The lactation room is now integrated into our on-boarding process for new hires, and it has become a critical resource for supporting the health, attitude and productivity of employees at Ecumen.

Adds Pfeifer, “I am glad that Ecumen Detroit Lakes has this beautiful space for me to use.”

Updated Friday, September 06, 2013 at 09:49AM