For working moms who breastfeed their children, everything changes when maternity leave is over. Mom has to go back to work—without the privacy or the same flexibility as before. Imagine how difficult breastfeeding would be if your job required travel.
This week, Nissan announced an exciting new partnership with Milk Stork, a breast milk shipping company that pre-ships packing materials, along with a cooler to keep milk fresh, to the company's employees in the U.S. and Canada who are traveling for work while still nursing.
According to the announcement, the pharmaceutical-grade cooler, which arrives at the hotel before the Nissan employee checks in, contains an internal mechanism that, once activated, keeps breast milk chilled for up to 72 hours. So, whenever Mom is done pumping and ready to ship, she simply drops the cooler off at the front desk (or FedEx shipping location) to be overnighted to her baby at the automaker's expense. Genius!
"As a working mom myself, supporting other working moms is a passion of mine," Michelle Baron, vice president of human resources for Nissan North America, told Mom.me. "My kids are teenagers now, but I wish I had a program like this back when I was in this life stage."
Baron also said that she understood how challenging it is to balance work and family life. She added, "That’s why I’m so proud to be part of this initiative and the steps we’re taking to make sure working moms don’t have to choose between their careers and their commitment to breastfeeding."
In addition to Nissan’s Milk Stork delivery program, the company is also offering a few more incentives for working mothers, including pumping rooms (with mirrors to avoid awkward moments, and white boards so employees can swoon over baby pictures while pumping), expectant mother parking passes, flexible work schedules (with an option to work from home) and “welcome back" kits for new parents.
Expecting couples are also encouraged to enroll in Nissan’s healthy maternity management program, making them eligible to earn money toward the purchase of a car seat and breast pump.
Baron said that benefits like shipping breast milk help Nissan continue to recruit, retain and motivate.
"Working moms have enough on their minds," she said. "Shipping their breast milk home after traveling shouldn’t be one of them. We’re happy to be able to reduce stress and retain the best employees. That’s what it’s all about—happy employees."