By Emily Perkins
The passion of Kara Giroux, pictured below, the lactation consultant for the East Region, helped earn Backus and Windham hospitals designation as Breastfeeding Friendly Employers.
Believing strongly in the bond between a breast- feeding mother and her baby, Kara Giroux, a nurse and lactation consultant in Hartford HealthCare’s East Region, envisioned making accommodations for colleagues with newborns to pump breastmilk while at work.
Leader of a breastfeeding workgroup comprised of East Region colleagues invested in making policies, spaces and work environments more comfortable for working, nursing mothers, Giroux was part of the movement that earned the Backus Hospital Birthing Center designation as a Baby- Friendly Hospital in 2019.
This past January, Backus, joined by Windham Hospital,
also earned recognition as Breastfeeding-Friendly
Employers by the Connecticut Breast- feeding Coalition. The designation recognizes organizations that proactively support employees who choose to breastfeed their infants by providing time, space and other benefits to help colleagues maintain breastfeeding after they return to work.
Much of the recent designation hinges on the Break Time for Breastfeeding Mothers policy. The East Region put this into effect in January, with help from the breastfeeding workgroup. Both campuses now feature lactation rooms for breastfeeding colleagues.
As part of the project, Backus also received a Mamava, a freestanding lactation pod located by the visitor elevators. Mothers gain access to the pod by using a mobile locator app that allows them to see when the pod was last in use. The pod features two spacious benches, a fold-down table and power outlets as well as a door with a lock ensuring privacy.
Hartford Hospital is also designated a Breastfeeding-Friendly Employer.