United Tribes NewsUTTC designated infant-friendly
24 June 2013
BISMARCK (UTN) - The North Dakota Department of Health has added United Tribes Technical College to its list of organizations and employers across the state designated as "Infant Friendly."
The college attained the distinction in early April following work by the colleges' Wellness Circle. The internal campus working group researched and promoted a breastfeeding policy that aligns with state guidelines. It was later adopted by the college administration.
"This formalizes what we've been doing for perhaps a decade," says Pat Aune, UTTC Land Grant Programs director. "The designation identifies us as a family-friendly institution that supports values known to advance early childhood development."
Previously, UTTC promoted breastfeeding by allowing mothers to bring their infants to work for up to six months if they were breastfeeding.
That policy is still in place, but UTTC has taken the additional step of providing a clean, safe, and private place to breastfeed and/or pump. The designated room is number 128 in the Lewis Goodhouse Wellness Center.
"Identifying and setting aside that dedicated place is what qualified us for the ‘Infant Friendly' designation," says Aune.
Another designated place is being readied in a second location, the college's Skill Center building, and should be available when the fall term begins, says Aune.
The new policy will become part of the college's employee handbook and support breastfeeding up to and beyond six months of age.
It has been reported that mothers typically breastfeed for longer periods of time when their place of employment supports breastfeeding.
The benefits of breastfeeding are exponential and have a positive influence on health later in life. Breastfeeding reduces an infant's risk of developing diabetes, asthma, SIDS, ear infections, and childhood diabetes. The longer an infant is breastfed, the more beneficial it is.
Employers also benefit from breastfeeding. Research indicates that employees can show improved work productivity and higher morale when breastfeeding policies are implemented; while employers incur less health care costs, and reduced employee absenteeism because breastfed babies tend to be healthier.
Federal Law protects a mother's right to breastfeed by allowing her to pump any time she needs while at work. North Dakota State Law allows a mother to breastfeed her child any place she is authorized to be, public or private.
As a progressive and family-friendly institution, UTTC has taken the necessary steps to promote life-long health and wellness, starting when it matters most.
More info: Jan Keller, UTTC Wellness Circle, 701-255-3285 x 1504, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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