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‘Babies at Work’ Program: ‘It Really Is a Win-Win Situation for Everybody’

Laura Goddard, left, wears a gray t-shirt, has long dirty blonde hair and smiles into the camera. Leona Greer, right, wears a blue patterned shirt and a light pink headscarf and smiles into the camera.
Rebecca Smith

Leona Greer and Laura Goddard both work at the Randolph County Health Department in Moberly. Leona is the Nutrition, Breastfeeding and WIC Coordinator, and Laura is the lead secretary in the clinic.

They spoke about how programs like the new “Babies at Work” program the health department is piloting could benefit other families and other businesses.

Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at missourihealthtalks.org.

Laura Goddard: What do you think is the importance of this program?

Leona Greer: Oh... let me count the ways.

Laura: Endless. 

Leona: Yes, endless... You know, I think it sets up for other businesses and other community members that, you know, we need to look at things differently.

Moms are in the work force, and they're not having the time off that they need to have off to really be successful - whether it's breastfeeding or just having that bonding time with the baby real early on.

And when people are going back to work at two and three weeks after delivery, you know, not every not everybody has that FMLA [Family and Medical Leave] where they can take 12 weeks off. Not everybody has the money that they can even do that.

So, we have to think outside the box and we have to find ways to give moms that time to be mom and to make breastfeeding successful because it's a health issue - breastfeeding has become a public health issue.

It doesn't have to be in a third world country. We know it's so much better for babies anywhere they are, so, I think that just showing people it can really work, and hopefully they'll start digging into it and see how it actually benefits businesses - because it does benefit a business.

One by employee satisfaction. They really feel that their employer is invested in them by bringing the baby to work or even letting moms pump at work

Moms miss less days of work because they're breast feeding because babies are healthier. We know that, and, you know, we have a lot of people they can't afford infant care or it really straps them financially - especially that first year. 

It's really really expensive, and so, this is a way to also - I would say it's a benefit...

Laura: Yep.

Leona: ...to a parent financially, too. 

Laura: Relive a little stress - financially. Yes.

Leona: And what studies have shown is moms that can bring their babies to work know that they have a limited amount of time to get their work done, so they actually work more efficiently because they want to make sure that they're able to continue with that program, and that they're still able to get their work done because they want to show...

Laura: Right

Leona: Their company that, "yes. I do appreciate this, and I can still get my work done.

Laura: Yeah.

Leona: So, it really is a win-win situation for everybody.

Rebecca Smith is an award-winning reporter and producer for the KBIA Health & Wealth Desk. Born and raised outside of Rolla, Missouri, she has a passion for diving into often overlooked issues that affect the rural populations of her state – especially stories that broaden people’s perception of “rural” life.
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