Breastfeeding Friendly Business Awarded to Kent State Salem
Kent State University at Salem received the Ohio Department of Health’s Healthy Ohio Breastfeeding Friendly Business Award, based on its programs designed to support nursing mothers on campus.
Ruth Ann Mullen, RN, MSN, IBCLC, is an assistant professor of nursing and an internationally certified lactation consultant. She explained that Kent Salem was one of only 11 Ohio businesses to receive this award. “Our breastfeeding initiatives give mothers the support, confidence and skills to successfully breastfeed their babies while working or going to school,” she said.
The ODH and other breastfeeding advocates around the state developed the Healthy Ohio Breastfeeding Friendly Business Award to acknowledge organizations that provide accommodations for their breastfeeding customers or clients.
Kent State at Salem and East Liverpool each have designated lactation rooms on campus that can be used by employees and students. The rooms provide individual private space, are shielded from view and closed to the public.
Kent State Salem is also a lactation support campus. Mullen offers free lactation consults to all students and staff who are breastfeeding. She also offers a free class for students and staff who are moms-to-be and who plan to breastfeed or are undecided.
Leah Wilson, a student-mom earning her bachelor’s degree in nursing, is one who knows firsthand about the services offered to breastfeeding mothers on the Salem campus.
“It is so nice to have the lactation room here on campus,” she said. “I could use the room between classes and not worry about missing class or missing a feeding. I really appreciate that Kent cares enough to make this possible.”
“We encourage exclusive breastfeeding for six months to reduce the risk for infections, especially in the first year of life, and for optimal nutrition for the baby,” Mullen explained. “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, babies who are formula-fed instead of breast-fed tend to require more doctor visits, hospitalizations and prescriptions. For employers, supporting breastfeeding makes good business sense because studies show that breastfeeding reduces absenteeism rates for new mothers and they are more productive.”
Photo Caption: Ruth Ann Mullen, RN, MSN, IBCLC (left) reviews breastfeeding information with her student, Leah Wilson, holding her son, Maddox. Wilson is a student in the BSN program at Kent State Salem who is able to use the accommodations provided on campus for breastfeeding moms.
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