Maternal Health & Lactation Support
To support the health and well-being of both new parents and their baby, Indiana University is committed to supporting lactating employees as they return to work. Talk with your supervisor or local human resource office to discuss your plans to return to work while continuing to breast or chest feed your newborn.
The Benefits of Breast/Chest Feeding
Breast or chest feeding gives your baby a healthy start on life! Here are a few reasons why breast/chest feeding is good for you and your baby.
Breast/Chest Feeding Health Benefits for:
- Reduces rates of type 2 diabetes and incidence of obesity
- Decreases rates of leukemia and lymphoma
- Fewer and less severe respiratory and gastrointestinal infections
- Reduced risk of developing asthma and allergies
- Strengthened immune systems
- Fewer instances of constipation and diarrhea
- Lowers blood pressure
- Decreases cholesterol levels
- Lowers rates of breast and ovarian cancer
- Reduces risk of diabetes
- Reduced bleeding after giving birth
- Decreased instances of postpartum depression
- Burns calories that can contribute to post-pregnancy weight loss
When Breast/Chest Feeding is Not an Option
Human milk is an excellent source of nutrition that sets up your baby for healthy growth and development and can also benefit his or her immune system. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends human milk as the sole source of nutrition for your baby for about 6 months. After six months, it can be continued for as long as both mother and baby desire it.
If breast or chest feeding is not an option, there is an alternative. Feeding your newborn donor milk can help your newborn receive the antibodies and nutrients he or she needs.
Donor milk is human milk that has been donated to a milk bank by prescreened donors. The donated milk is tested, pasteurized, frozen, and distributed to families of babies who need it. Donor milk is usually prescribed by the newborn’s healthcare provider.
Infant formula can provide excellent nutrition for your baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics provides a series of articles, where you can learn about what to look for in a baby formula, and most importantly, how to prepare and store your baby's formula safely.
Find the articles here.
IU Lactation Medical Coverage
Lactation support, supplies, and counseling are covered under IU-sponsored medical plans as preventive care with no member cost.
Lactation Medical Benefits
One breast pump is covered by each IU-sponsored medical plan at no cost for female members any time during their pregnancy or following delivery, when purchased from in-network providers.
Steps to obtain a qualified breast pump:
- Obtain a prescription from an OB/GYN for the breast pump,
- Purchase a pump through a local in-network Durable Medical Equipment (or DME) provider, or
- Purchase a pump through an online in-network DME provider.
Additional IU Benefits
Start Your Child's Medical Coverage - As an IU Academic or Staff employee enrolled in a medical plan, eligible dependents can be enrolled in the same plan when a qualifying change in status occurs. Enrollment must take place within 30 days of the newborn's birth, adoption or legal guardianship.
Paid Parental Leave is provided to an eligible staff employee, following a birth or adoption of a child, in recognition of the importance of work + life synergy and offering parents the opportunity to bond with their new child.
IU Tax Saver Benefit Plan - Dependent Care reimbursement account may help you save money on child care and medical care expenses.
The 24-Hour Nurse Line (dial 888-279-5449) is a resource for those enrolled in one of the IU-sponsored medical plans who need guidance on non-emergency health questions and concerns.
Telemedicine services are similar to an office visit. Doctors you see online are prepared to assess your conditions, offer a treatment plan, and send prescriptions to a pharmacy of your choosing. Learn more at LiveHealth Online or IU Health Video Visits.
Wellness Rooms for Lactating Employees
Indiana University provides wellness rooms to support Academics, Staff, and Students who need a private space for expressing milk. Click on your campus below to learn more.
How to Support Lactating Employees
On March 23, 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act amended, the Fair Labor Standards Act to require employers to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express human milk for their nursing child, for one year after the child's birth, each time the employee needs to express milk (section 7r of FLSA).
Ind. Code § 5-10-6-2 and § 22-2-14-2 (2008) provide that state and political subdivisions shall provide for reasonable paid breaks for an employee to express milk for their infant, make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location, other than a toilet stall, where the employee can express milk in private as well as make reasonable efforts to provide a refrigerator to keep the milk that has been expressed.
Research has proven that breast/chest feeding plays a vital role in giving newborns a healthy start on life and maintaining moms' good health. Therefore, it is important that employees who have the opportunity to breast/chest feed their newborns are presented with a welcoming and supportive environment when they return to work.
Human Milk: Handling, Storing, and Traveling
TSA Special Procedures related to human milk, formula, and infant feeding equipment across all airport security checkpoints.
Find additional resources in your community here.