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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UNC: Palmquist Co-authors Breastfeeding Brief for UNICEF on Family-friendly Work Policies

A researcher from the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health contributes to a new report from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) that calls on governments and businesses to invest in family-friendly policies such as paid leave, support for breastfeeding mothers, affordable childcare and the inclusion of child benefits.

The July 2019 report, “Family-Friendly Policies: A Policy Brief Redesigning the Workplace of the Future,” includes six evidence-based briefs that illustrate the important of family-friendly policies to early childhood development.

Dr. Aunchalee Palmquist, assistant professor of maternal and child health, co-authored the section titled, “Breastfeeding and Family-Friendly Policies: An evidence brief.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that infants be exclusively breastfed for six months and, along with the addition of solid food, continue to breastfeed for two years or more. The brief provides evidence from early childhood development and breastfeeding experts showing how policies that support breastfeeding can help children reach their full potential.

According to Dr. Palmquist, the estimated return on investment in breastfeeding support is $35 for every $1 invested.

“When paid parental leave is granted and employees are provided with lactation support and childcare support, employers retain a healthier and more satisfied workforce,” she says.

The report recommends legislation and workplace policies that protect, promote and support breastfeeding, including offering at least 14 to 18 weeks — and ideally 26 weeks — of paid leave around childbirth and providing paid breaks for breastfeeding or expressing breast milk.

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