Babies at Work: a Workplace Revolution
The joy of bringing a new baby into the world is immeasurable. The squishy cuddles, the quiet coos, and the beginning of your breastfeeding journey wrap a new mama up in the cozy bubble of new motherhood. But often, there’s a lingering fear nagging at the back of that postpartum mom’s mind: what will I do when maternity leave ends? The rising cost of childcare and the desire to bond with baby can collide in an unfortunate conundrum as parental leave ends and moms are faced with the reality of returning to work.
While new mamas grapple with the responsibilities of both motherhood and career, some employers have stepped up to make this transition easier for families, by allowing parents to bring their infants to work. Although this can be a controversial policy, we at Latched Mama believe that this is a cultural revolution, and that supporting families is paramount to productivity. When families are cared for, the parents’ stress levels are instantly reduced and they’re able to stop worrying about what they will do. While some will say that this policy is destined to make work more difficult, companies like Latched Mama, who have implemented these programs, find the opposite: that when families are cared for, their productivity rises along with their morale and workplace satisfaction.
As stated on our About Us page:
Our ‘why’ at Latched Mama has always been supporting parents. We adapt to the needs of our employees as parents first. Upon completion of only six months of employment, our 40+ employees are provided with 100 days of paid parental leave, have the opportunity to bring their babies to work with them up to 18 months old, a pregnancy and postpartum stipend for families to use based on their individual needs, whether it’s in-home pediatrician visits, birth or postpartum doulas, counseling, meal services, items off registries, or birth photography. In addition, employees have access to lactation support from 14 lactation consultants on staff. We also provide this free lactation support to the public. If one employee is the primary caregiver and their spouse is out of work, Melissa finds ways to get them on the company payroll. All of this is because Latched Mama is so much more than just a nursing company–it is a community here to support moms.
But we’re not the only ones! This is a growing trend among forward-facing companies nationwide, and the success stories are undeniable. Here are a few more of the revolutionary workplaces who have decided to put families first:
Schools Financial Credit Union is a trailblazer in women’s rights in the workplace: they’ve been allowing parents to bring their babies to work since 2001! They allow babies in the office until they’re 6 months old or mobile. Several other credit unions across the country have followed suit, including Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union in Massachusetts and Hawai’i First Credit Union in Hawai’i. Mark S. Cochran, president and chief executive officer of Jeanne D’Arc CU says,
“We understand the pressures and stress that all working parents face. For parents of infant children, we recognize that it is crucial for both the parent and their new baby to spend time together.”
Laura Aguirre, president of Hawai’i First, echoes this sentiment, adding that in her view productivity doesn’t suffer at all when parents are allowed to bring their babies to work. She cites employees’ appreciation for the program as a morale booster for the organization!
Even some government agencies have joined the trend. Kate Dietz, of Tyler, Texas, keeps her baby with her when she goes to work for the City of Tyler. “It’s been really great the way that it’s worked out, because that transition from right when they’re born to going through kind of a maternity leave and then coming back to work can be really hard,” she said. “I will say that having her here with me helped that transition along better.” Other city and state government agencies have taken similar approaches, such as Traverse City, Michigan and the Washington State Department of Health. The Washington State Department of Health’s website emphasizes that this policy is in line with their larger mission to care for the wellbeing of the citizens of Washington:
“This reflects the best practices we promote across Washington state: supporting parent and infant bonding, parental well-being, healthy infant development, and breastfeeding.”
Private businesses like Latched Mama are also joining the revolution! Badger Balm in New Hampshire and the GL Group in New York also have babies in the workplace, with the GL Group going so far as to pay employees $150 per week in childcare subsidies until their baby’s first birthday (once they age out of being in the office). What these businesses (and many more) have learned is that allowing parents to be with their children, even in the office, works. It is better for families, and it increases morale and even boosts productivity at work. In an era where childcare expenses can consume up to 20% of a parent’s income, the option to delay that expense and keep baby close becomes an attractive perk for employees. Organizations nationwide are catching on:
what’s good for your employees is also good for business.