Survey: Corporate Lactation Programs Increase Retention

Emily Reed
Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide
(312) 397-6056

Rachel Mennell
Medela, Inc.
(815) 578-2348

Kate Fleming
Rosen Group

September 25, 2007: According to a Medela and Working Mother lactation survey to the Working Mother 100 Best Companies, 98 percent say a corporate lactation program is important or very important to their workforce. Companies feel the main reasons to provide such programs include increased recruiting and retention, and to offer competitive benefits. In fact, 59 percent have noted greater retention following childbirth due to corporate lactation programs.

Increasingly, companies are providing lactation benefits and support to encourage women's return to the workplace following childbirth. A survey earlier this year by Medela and the National Women's Health Resource Center (NWHRC) revealed that 60 percent of working mothers believe the perception of breastfeeding in the workplace has grown more positive in recent years. 

"Increasingly, employers are taking note of working mothers' desire to provide the health benefits of breast milk to their child while pursing their career," says Carolin Archibald, Vice President, Consumer Business at Medela. "Corporate lactation programs are crucial in increasing the acceptance of breastfeeding in the workplace. It is important for employers to remember that these programs also have substantial benefits for their bottom line. Successful programs can improve retention, reduce absenteeism and lower health insurance claims."

Other survey highlights
  • Ninety-six percent of the 100 Best demonstrate their commitment by providing dedicated lactation rooms to the majority of their workforce. 
  • Ninety-three percent of the 100 Best say they have the support of senior management to develop and improve their company's lactation program.
  • Of the 100 Best companies that offer breast pumps to working mother employees, 43 percent offer them to both on-site and remote employees. 
  • Fifty percent say the international divisions of their company also offer lactation rooms or a corporate lactation program.
Best Practices
Beyond a traditional lactation room, 91 percent of the 100 Best provide special accommodations for employees, such as breast pumps and access to lactation consultants. Further, 76 percent also make private lactation rooms available to employees who are based outside of corporate headquarters.

While a survey earlier this year by Medela and NWHRC showed that one of the biggest physical barriers to pumping in the workplace is an inflexible work schedule, 97 percent of the Working Mother 100 Best make scheduling accommodations for hourly employees who work in shifts. 
"The 100 Best provide a great example for companies to follow to establish programs that support breastfeeding working moms and advance the cause of breastfeeding in the workplace," adds Archibald.

Resources & Tips
To help both companies and working moms wishing to encourage their employer to provide a corporate lactation program, Medela and Working Mother have created an Interactive Lactation Lounge. Located on the Working Mother site at, the Lounge shows what is necessary to make pumping at work more comfortable for working moms that choose to breastfeed. The full results of the Medela survey of the 100 Best are also available on the Lactation Lounge Web site. Additional tips for breastfeeding working moms are available on and

About the Medela Survey of the Working Mother 100 Best  
The survey of the Working Mother 100 Best was conducted online for Medela, Inc. by Working Mother Media. Survey respondents consisted of senior HR directors at forty-four of the 2006 Working Mother 100 Best. 

About Medela
Medela provides the most technologically advanced breast pumps and breastfeeding accessories to nursing mothers around the world. A long-time champion of breastfeeding, Medela is the only company to develop products based on research by the world’s leading lactation experts. As a result, Medela’s breast pumps are the number one choice of healthcare professionals and facilities worldwide.

Founded in 1961 by Olle Larsson in Zug, Switzerland, Medela continues to grow under the ownership of the Larsson family. Medela serves customers through a worldwide network of distribution partners in more than 90 countries and its 12 subsidiaries in the Benelux countries, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

About Working Mother Media 
A dedicated champion of culture change, Working Mother Media is the largest multimedia company in the country focused on diversity and the advancement of women. Encompassing Working Mother magazine, Diversity Best Practices, the National Association of Female Executives (NAFE); the Working Mother 100 Best Companies, Best Companies for Multicultural Women, NAFE Top Companies for Executive Women, Best Small Companies for Women, Best Law Firms for Women, Balance Seekers and Best Practices in Corporate Communications, Working Mother Media also includes a dynamic conference and events division.