Monday, September 11, 2023
Norman Regional Health System was recently named a "Breastfeeding Friendly Worksite - Gold Star Employer" by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, a recognition that's not achieved without significant commitment and processes in place to support breastfeeding mothers in our community.
Some of the criteria that were met to earn this distinction include:
- Flexible Break Times: Recognizing the unique needs of nursing mothers, Norman Regional offers flexible break times explicitly tailored for the expression of milk. This ensures mothers can adhere to their breastfeeding schedules without any work-related hindrance.
- Comfort and Privacy: Beyond just providing a space, Norman Regional ensures that the location is comfortable and ensures absolute privacy. Importantly, this space isn't just a repurposed toilet stall but is genuinely designed keeping the mother's comfort in mind.
- Clean Water and Hygiene: Understanding the importance of hygiene in this process, the facility provides easy access to sinks. This allows mothers to wash their hands effectively and clean their breast pump equipment ensuring safety and hygiene.
- Written Policy: Reinforcing their commitment, Norman Regional has a written policy in place that supports breastfeeding, encompassing all the above-listed criteria.
In addition to the standard criteria, Norman Regional Health System went above and beyond, meeting the following Gold Star Employer requirements:
- Safe Storage: Norman Regional provides access to a refrigerator, ensuring that expressed milk is stored safely and maintaining its nutritional quality.
- Prenatal Education: Recognizing that the breastfeeding journey begins even before childbirth, Norman Regional offers prenatal breastfeeding education, equipping mothers with the knowledge they need.
- Lactation Consultation: Whenever required, employees have access to counseling by a certified lactation consultant, ensuring mothers have the support and guidance needed for successful breastfeeding.
- Resource Referrals: In situations requiring more specialized assistance, employees are referred to public or private community resources.
- Employee-wide Education: It's not just about supporting nursing mothers, but also about fostering an environment of understanding. This includes educating all employees on the benefits of breastfeeding and the services they offer to support nursing employees.
- State-of-the-Art Equipment: As a testament to their commitment, a hospital-grade breast pump is made available for employee use, ensuring efficiency and hygiene.
Through its comprehensive and inclusive approach, Norman Regional Health System sets a standard example for employers statewide. By fostering a supportive environment, Norman Regional is not just helping working mothers, but also playing a pivotal role in ensuring the well-being of the next generation.
Norman Regional’s dedication to breastfeeding mothers and their babies extends beyond our employees. Our lactation service team is made up of a team of international board-certified lactation consultants and are dedicated to supporting you from the time of your baby’s birth throughout your breastfeeding journey. We also offer one-on-one outpatient lactation visits to assist in achieving your goals and are excited about our upcoming beautiful, family-friendly lactation clinic located just right outside of labor and delivery.
If you need any lactation-related services, reach out to us at 405-515-3532.
- COBA – okbreastfeeding.org
- o Meets the third Wednesday of every month at Norman Public Library Central 2nd floor, Rose Rock Room
- Oklahoma Breastfeeding Hotline – 877-271-MILK (6455)
- o Families can contact Hotline IBCLCs two ways. Call: 877-271-MILK (6455) or Text: OK2BF to 61222.
- o Staff reply to all non-urgent contacts from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and reply to all urgent contacts within one hour 24/7.
- Droplet – firstdroplets.com
- Oklahoma Mother’s Milk Bank – okmilkbank.org