Southern Ohio Medical Center has received two awards highlighting its efforts to support breastfeeding. SOMC earned both the Ohio Department of Health’s Healthy Ohio Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Award and the Healthy Ohio Breastfeeding Friendly Business Award.
There are medical benefits associated with breastfeeding, as it reduces the risk of infections and provides optimal nutrition for the child.
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. A recent 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.
Supporting breastfeeding makes good business sense, as well. Studies have found that breastfeeding reduces absenteeism rates on the part of new mothers and increases their productivity.
SOMC is one of 22 employers in Ohio to be honored by the Ohio Department of Health and one of 11 to receive the Breastfeeding Friendly Business Award.