Nationwide Childrens Hospital Receives Award for Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers in the Workplace

September 12, 2011

Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the first businesses in the state to be awarded the Healthy Ohio Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Award by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH).

“Companies like Nationwide Children’s realize that supporting breastfeeding is an excellent way to improve the health of our community’s littlest members,” said ODH Director, Ted E. Wymyslo, M.D. “Children who are breastfed have a reduced risk of many health problems including diabetes, asthma, childhood cancer and obesity.” 

“Nationwide Children’s Hospital breastfeeding initiatives give mothers the support, confidence and skills to successfully breastfeed their baby," said Ihuoma Eneli, MD, medical director of the Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition at Nationwide Children's Hospital. "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. Also, breast milk contains essential nutrients for eye and brain development. We are also excited about the opportunities to retain and encourage valuable employees through these programs that promote healthy families.”

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, low rates of breastfeeding add $2.2 billion a year to medical costs. Babies who are formula-fed instead of breast-fed tend to require more doctor visits, hospitalizations and prescriptions,” said Dr. Wymyslo. “These costs are significant enough that a 2010 study published in the journal Pediatrics estimated that the country would save $13 billion per year in health care and other costs if 90 percent of U.S. babies were exclusively breastfed for six months.”

Dr. Wymyslo also noted that supporting breastfeeding makes good business sense. Studies have found that breastfeeding reduces absenteeism rates on the part of new mothers and increases their productivity.

Ohio is committed to promoting and protecting a mother’s right to breastfeed her child for as long as she chooses, whether or not she returns to work. Doctors recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months after birth for the optimal health of a mother and her child.

The Ohio Department of Health, with the assistance of the Ohio Lactation Consultant Association and other breastfeeding advocates around the state, developed the Healthy Ohio Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Award to acknowledge employers who establish and maintain comprehensive, high-quality breastfeeding support programs for their employees.

Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of 18 businesses in Ohio to be honored and one of 9 to receive the Silver award from the Ohio Department of Health.

The Healthy Ohio Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Award will be awarded annually and 2012 applications will be available online in the summer of 2012. For more information about the award and other ways ODH supports healthy behavior, please visit www.healthyohioprogram.org, or contact Kristen Marschner at Kristen.marschner@odh.ohio.gov or (614) 466-2248.

About Nationwide Children's Hospital

Named to the Top 10 Honor Roll on U.S. News & World Report ‘s 2018-19 list of “Best Children’s Hospitals,” Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of America’s largest not-for-profit freestanding pediatric health care systems providing wellness, preventive, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative care for infants, children and adolescents, as well as adult patients with congenital disease. Nationwide Children’s has a staff of more than 13,000 providing state-of-the-art pediatric care during more than 1.4 million patient visits annually. As home to the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nationwide Children’s physicians train the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric specialists. The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the Top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded freestanding pediatric research facilities. More information is available at NationwideChildrens.org.