Background: Returning to an unsupportive work environment has been identified as a major reason for avoidance or early abandonment of breastfeeding among working mothers. Objective: This study aimed to examine the nature and extent of accommodations offered to breastfeeding employees among New Jersey employers since the US federal Reasonable Break Time for Nursing Mothers law enactment. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted to measure current lactation support in the workplace in New Jersey. Using convenience sampling, the survey was sent to managerial personnel in hospitals and nonhospitals. The level of support was assessed on company policy, lactation room, and room amenity. A composite lactation amenity score was calculated based on responses about lactation room amenities. Results: Respondents (N = 51) completed a 22-item online questionnaire during fall 2011. The support level was compared by type of organization: hospital (n = 37) versus nonhospital (n = 14). The amenity score of hospitals was significantly higher than nonhospitals (1.44 vs 0.45, P = .002). The mean amenity score (score = 0.95) for all employers was far below comprehensive (score = 3.0). Compared to nonhospitals, hospitals were more likely to offer lactation rooms (81% vs 36%, P = .003), have their own breastfeeding policy (35.1% vs 7.1%, P = .01), and provide additional breastfeeding support (eg, education classes, resources; P < .05). Conclusion: Employers, regardless of the type of organization, need to improve their current practices and create equity of lactation support in the workplace.
- federal law
- working mothers