BEDMINSTER, NJ — In a continuing effort to honor corporations that support employees who are breastfeeding mothers, the New Jersey Breastfeeding Task Force has selected Verizon Wireless to receive the first Breastfeeding Friendly Award of 2006. Dr. Amy Kotler, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics New Jersey Chapter Breastfeeding and Nutrition Committee, member of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine and mother of two breastfed children, presented the award to Verizon Wireless today at its corporate headquarters in Bedminster, NJ.
Verizon Wireless was recognized for its innovative programs that facilitate breastfeeding, including the availability of lactation rooms at all major corporate facilities from coast to coast. The company currently provides lactation rooms at eight locations throughout the Northeast, seven throughout the South Area, four in the Midwest and four throughout the West Area. These rooms enable breastfeeding mothers to pump during work breaks.
The lactation rooms are just one of the many benefits Verizon Wireless offers to working mothers. Verizon Wireless's company-wide Enhanced Healthy Babies Program, which provides incentives to employees who adopt healthy actions during and after their pregnancy, reimburses employees for lactation consultant services, the purchase or rental of a breast pump, and Lamaze/Birthing classes. In addition, Verizon Wireless conducts online Webinars featuring important information regarding pregnancy and the benefits of breastfeeding.
Ellen Maughan, president of the New Jersey Breastfeeding Task Force, praises Verizon Wireless for the creation of the lactation room as a model for other corporations. "We are delighted to honor Verizon Wireless for its comprehensive approach to supporting breastfeeding employees. Helping mothers to continue breastfeeding is good for both the employee's family, in that it helps them to enjoy the abundant health and emotional benefits of breastfeeding for mother and child, and for employers, because it helps them retain valuable employees."
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all babies be exclusively breastfed for the first six months with breastfeeding to continue, with the introduction of solid foods, at least until the baby is 12 months old. Numerous studies document the health benefits of breastfeeding for mother and child. Babies who are not breastfed suffer from more respiratory, gastrointestinal, ear and urinary tract infections. Breastfeeding reduces the child's incidence of obesity, allergies and asthma, and is linked with higher intelligence later in life. Breastfeeding also reduces the mother's risks of breast, ovarian and uterine cancer as well as osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
"We are pleased to be recognized by the NJ Breastfeeding Task Force for our nationwide initiative to encourage new moms to take healthy actions," stated Martha Delehanty, vice president of human resources at Verizon Wireless. "Supporting new moms is good business for both Verizon Wireless and our many working mothers as breastfeeding provides substantial health benefits to the mom and her child, while reducing employee absenteeism and overall healthcare costs."
"I am extremely grateful to Verizon Wireless," said Brandie Heiser, a Verizon Wireless employee. "It was important to me to have breast milk for my child for as long as possible and the lactation room allowed me to continue to nurse my daughter and provide breast milk exclusively to her even though I had returned to work."
According to a recent study in the journal Pediatrics, many mothers cite returning to work as a reason for early weaning from breastfeeding. Moreover, studies have shown that corporate lactation programs increase the duration of breastfeeding among employed mothers. Research also shows that breastfed babies have fewer illnesses, contributing to less employee absenteeism of the mother. Legislation has been pending in the New Jersey Legislature for four years that would require employers to provide facilities and break time for milk expression.
The New Jersey Breastfeeding Task Force is a nonprofit collaboration of lactation consultants, doctors, nurses, breastfeeding counselors and others working to increase the incidence and duration of breastfeeding in the state of New Jersey. The Breastfeeding Friendly Award is given to businesses, organizations and public entities that support breastfeeding by making breastfeeding mothers feel welcome. For more information about the New Jersey Breastfeeding Task Force, visit www.breastfeedingnj.org.
Verizon Wireless has regularly been recognized for its programs that address the work/life needs of employees. Recent awards include:
- "Gold Well Workplace Award" - The Wellness Councils of America
- "InformationWeek 500" - InformationWeek Magazine
- "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" - Working Mother Magazine
- "Best Diversity Campaign in 2004" - Employment Management Association
- "Best Wireless Company to Work For" - TelecomCareers.Net JobSeeker Survey
- "America's Top Organizations for Multicultural Business Opportunities" - DiversityBusiness.com
- "Top 100 Training Organizations in America" - Training Magazine
For more information about Verizon Wireless, please visit www.verizonwireless.com.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 49.3 million voice and data customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.