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Hendrick Medical Center policy protects employees' right to pump breast milk, nurse during work hours

By Cassandra Webb, cwebb@ktxs.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 01:42:05 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 06 2013 10:07:57 AM CST
ABILENE, Texas -

Hendrick Medical Center has officially become a Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite.

Hendrick joins Abilene Regional Medical Center and the Abilene-Taylor County WIC office as workplaces with this designation.

Texas Mother-Friendly Worksites are places of employment that encourage breastfeeding and write policy that allows mothers flexibility in their work schedules to do so.

"We have a house-wide policy, so all of the supervisors are aware of that," said Dina Davis of Hendrick. "Whenever we have new employee orientation, that's part of the education they receive there, so the employees know this is something that we have available to them."

Davis said being a breast-feeding mother who works outside of the home is difficult.

"So we try to be as accommodating as possible," she said.

Employees who nurse can go to private rooms, access hospital-grade breast pumps and store their milk in refrigerators and freezers on site.

"There's nothing bad or obscene about it," Davis said. "It's beautiful, it's natural."

Progressive thinkers might wonder what took a major Abilene employer so long to get on board.

"It's just something that we had to take little steps with," Davis said. "We're proud of the progress that we've made and you know, I guess some people may view it as slow in coming, but it's here now."

Abilene Regional Medical Center and the Abilene-Taylor County WIC Office became Texas Mother-Friendly Worksites in 2006 and 1997, respectively.

Here are the facts on how mother-friendly worksites benefit their employees:

1. These worksites report seeing an increase in employee retention.

2. Mother-friendly worksites have seen lower absenteeism.

3. They're shown to have higher morale among their employees, as well as greater productivity.

To learn how your business can become a Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite, click here.