By: Kim Gurley, Project Coordinator
Happy National Breastfeeding Month!
As part of our work in Dunklin County, our Branching Out for a Healthier Community coalition has been working to increase breastfeeding friendly businesses in Kennett, Missouri. A few weeks ago, the local newspaper, The Daily Dunklin Democrat, wrote an article titled "Reflections Mental Health Care given Breastfeeding Friendly Worksite Award" highlighting the success of our coalition. Read the full story here.
The WIC breastfeeding coordinator and dietitian have worked collaboratively with me to help increase the number of businesses that are Breastfeeding Friendly. Walmart in Kennett, MO has already been certified but needs more signs to make people more aware, so we have been working with Walmart to increase signage. After starting the Facebook page (Branching Out For A Healthier Community), we announced that we are trying to get more businesses to become Breastfeeding Friendly and asked them to contact us. We also informed them of the mini-grant that they could utilize from the Department of Health and Senior Services to help encourage them to take advantage of this opportunity.
Tiffany Leeker, owner of Reflections Mental Health Care replied to the Facebook comment that she would be interested in the grant and becoming a Breastfeeding Friendly Worksite. As the project coordinator, I reached out to Gary Eaton, manager of Walmart in Malden to talk with him about becoming a Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace due to them being a part of a bigger franchise. The WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor, Nutrition Coordinator, and myself met with each business to provide education on breastfeeding and help explain the paperwork to them to boost them to Gold Level.
At the Gold Level, the business must meet the highest standards, such as a written breastfeeding policy with education provided for all employees, a private room (small table, electrical outlet, refrigerator for storing milk, comfortable chair), provision of flextime, maternity leave for up to 12 weeks, and a list of local breastfeeding resources. These are just some of the many standards that businesses must meet in order to obtain this certification. Both businesses were inspired to fill out the paperwork to send in to be approved at the Gold level to become Breastfeeding Friendly Worksites. We are very happy to now have three businesses in our county that are Breastfeeding Friendly Worksites!